New White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gives thanks to 'barrer-breaking people' on her first day

On her first official day as White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre proudly announced, “I am obviously acutely aware that my presence at this podium represents a few firsts. I am a Black, gay, immigrant woman, the first of all three of those to hold this position. I would not be here today if were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me. I stand on their shoulders.”

“I benefit from their sacrifices, I have learned from their excellence. I am forever grateful to them. Representation does matter, you hear us say this often in this administration, and no one understands this better than President Biden.”


The Republican agenda 'centers on taking away freedom' and seeks only 'power': Robert Reich

Former United States Labor Secretary Robert Reich laid out in no uncertain terms the danger posed by the Republican Party's assaults on civil liberties in a new YouTube video released on Monday.

"Republicans love to claim they’re the party of freedom. Bulls**t," Reich began. "In reality, the Republican agenda centers on taking away freedom."

Over the next two minutes, Reich fired off the laundry list of freedoms that the GOP is tirelessly scheming to abolish, from the rights of women to have control over their own bodies, to equal protection and dignity for LGBTQ+ citizens, to gutting public education, and disenfranchising voters that tend to cast ballots for Democrats.

Reich argued that a society in which people are saddled with crippling student loans and medical debt and are forced to work for poverty-level wages cannot call itself free.

"A living wage, the right to join a union, guaranteed healthcare, the right to vote – these are the foundations of real freedom. Yet Republicans oppose all of these," Reich said.

Reich noted that the right-wing's endgame is completely transparent.

"What Republicans want to preserve isn’t freedom, it’s power," Reich concluded. "The power to impose their narrow ideology on everyone else, no matter who suffers. Don’t let their propaganda convince you otherwise."

Watch below:

Why Republicans are NOT the Party of Freedom | Robert Reich

Ron DeSantis banned from speaking at NY Jewish Heritage Museum for lacking a ‘message of inclusivity’

As governor of Florida, far-right Republican Ron DeSantis — who is running for reelection this year and will likely seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2024 — has gone out of his way to be as divisive as possible. DeSantis’ authoritarian leanings were evident when he not only championed Florida’s anti-gay, anti-trans “Don’t Say Gay” law, but also, retaliated against Disney for publicly criticizing the law. Now, the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage is speaking out against DeSantis’ extremism by banning him from the premises.

DeSantis was invited to speak at the Tikvah Fund’s Jewish Leadership Conference, which is set to be held at the Museum in June. But the Museum, according to LQBTQ Nation’s Alex Bollinger, is banning DeSantis from the premises because his divisive activities don’t “align with the Museum’s values and its message of inclusivity.”

Tikvah Fund leaders Elliott Abrams and Eric Cohen invited DeSantis to speak at the June event because Florida has been experiencing what they describe as a “remarkable Jewish renaissance.” But the Museum, according to Bollinger, told them that the Tikvah Fund could either uninvite DeSantis or move their Jewish Leadership Conference to another location — either way, the Museum doesn’t want DeSantis speaking on its premises.

Abrams and Cohen have engaged in silly “whataboutism,” noting that Democratic progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City and former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio have spoken at the Museum. They expressed their displeasure with the Museum’s DeSantis ban in an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal on May 5.

“Abrams and Cohen complained that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was allowed to speak at the Museum in 2018, showing partisan bias from the Museum staff even though Ocasio-Cortez does not have the same record on human rights that DeSantis has,” Bollinger notes.

Indeed, had Tikvah invited a more moderate GOP conservative to speak at the event — for example, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois or former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele — the Museum probably wouldn’t have had any objections.

Bollinger notes, “DeSantis has been waging an all-out assault on LGBTQ and minority rights this year in the state of Florida. He banned some teachers from discussing LGBTQ people with the state’s new Don’t Say Gay law, redrew the state’s Congressional map to increase the number of Republicans Florida sends to Congress, allowed parents to sue schools if they think ‘critical race theory’ is being taught, proclaimed a cis woman the ‘rightful winner’ of a swimming competition just because a transgender woman actually won, took away a self-governance deal from Disney because the company spoke out against his Don’t Say Gay law, and banned abortion after 15 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest, to name just a few policies from just this year that people who favor human rights may have found objectionable.”

Karine Jean-Pierre makes history by becoming the first Black LGBTQ+ White House press secretary

President Joe Biden has appointed Karine Jean-Pierre to be the White House Press Secretary. The historic move makes Jean-Pierre the first Black person and first out LGBTQ person to be the top administration spokesperson.

In a time when the civil rights of women, people of color, and LGBTQ people are being dismantled by the right Biden’s move sends a strong signal to not only the nation but the world that protecting civil rights and positioning exceptionally talented people for the world to see is among his top priorities.

“Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people,” President Biden said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.”

Jean-Pierre, currently the Principal Deputy Press Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President will officially become Press Secretary and Assistant to the President May 13, when Jen Psaki will officially step down. From the beginning of her service Psaki had communicated to the White House she would be in that role for only a year.

“Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room,” President Biden added. “I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so. I thank Jen her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”

Calling it a “historic appointment,” GLAAD praised the move.

“Karine Jean-Pierre is a brilliant communicator and person of tremendous intelligence, humor and poise, skills that will serve her and our country well in her new role,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. “There are few jobs more visible or more important to our democracy than to share information with the White House press corps and answer their questions. To have an out queer person of color speak for the President of the United States says everything about Karine’s talent and heart, and recognizes that LGBTQ people can belong, contribute and succeed in every room. Our whole community looks forward to seeing Karine deliver for our nation and represent every LGBTQ person with pride.”

MSNBC’s report:

Karine Jean-Pierre Named White House Press Secretary

Jen Psaki schools Peter Doocy for playing dumb about right-wing attacks on LGBTQ+ kids

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki again was forced to explain to Fox News propagandist Peter Doocy something very simple – exactly what President Joe Biden meant earlier on Wednesday when he warned that conservatives at some point might try to ban LGBTQ kids from classrooms.

“What happens if you have a state change the law saying that children who are LGBTQ can’t be in classrooms with other children?” President Biden pondered, as a warning.

“What are the next things that are going to be attacked?” Biden asked. “Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history.”

During the White House daily press briefing Doocy asked, “What is he talking about?” as if the President had not been extremely clear.

“Well, I think Peter, we’ve seen extreme laws that target LGBTQ families, their kids across the country, and I think what he’s saying is we don’t know what they’re capable of given what they’ve already done to date.”

Appearing to try to not understand the concept of a hypothetical, Doocy pressed on.

“Which state is trying to segregate LGBTQ children in the classroom?” he asked.

“I think we’ve seen laws that are incredibly discriminatory. That’s what the President’s referring to, and the fact that he doesn’t know what additional steps could be taken by extreme wings of the party that would rather divide, rather than work on issues that the American people actually are focused on actually impacting them.”

Given how conservatives have spent years trying to ban transgender children from restrooms, and given how conservatives have rushed to pass their own versions of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill it’s incredibly foresightful for President Biden to warn about what they could do next to LGBTQ kids.

Student protests erupt in Missouri town after school board bans 'safe space' signs

Missouri’s Grain Valley Schools school board has banned teachers from displaying popular “Safe Space for All” stickers on or in their classrooms, mysteriously citing “a concern.” The stickers are used nationwide to enable LGBTQ students, and all students, to know they have a safe space to be themselves without fear of reprisal from staff or students.

The board left it to schools to notify parents, which they did on Monday via email, KSHB reports. The notice came after last Thursday’s board meeting, but the Safe Space sticker ban was not on the agenda. The board claims it initiated the ban because all classrooms should be safe spaces for everyone.

In a move similar to the “All Lives Matter” retort to the Back Lives Matter movement, the school board wrote to parents:

“Our goal is for every classroom to be a safe place for all students, not just in classrooms where teachers choose to display a particular sign,”

“We remain committed to providing professional development to help our staff create a safe, collaborative, and inclusive environment, consistent with our core beliefs, where each student feels a sense of belonging. The use of these cards, however, is determined to not be an appropriate step at this time.”

The board did not state what steps it is taking to secure that goal – or, in fact if it has any plans to ensure the safety of LGBTQ students.

KCTV5 adds that the school board “confirms that rainbows and images of allied support must be removed.”

Justice Horn, a candidate for the Missouri state legislature, responded on Twitter:

“Today’s move is taking what little visibility LGBTQ+ students may [have],” he adds. “This may seem small to some, but to queer students who may feel like they don’t have a place, this means the world. This may save a kid from making a similar decision like I did because we didn’t have these.”

The Grain Valley School Board‘s minutes from last week’s meeting hypocritically include this statement at the bottom:

The mayor of nearby Kansas City weighed in, suggesting the move could be a First Amendment violation:

The Kansas City Star notes that “GLSEN’s national survey of schools found in 2019 that many LGBTQ students do not feel safe in Missouri schools. In the survey of more than 400 Missouri students, 81% of LGBTQ students regularly heard homophobic remarks at school. The report said that 75% of LGBTQ students experienced verbal harassment based on their sexual orientation. And 57% of LGBTQ students experienced verbal harassment based on their gender expression.”

Some students are protesting. Video via KSHB:

Megyn Kelly invokes 'gay and lesbian friends' to attack trans Americans and their rights

Former Fox News and NBC News personality Megyn Kelly says she has a lot of gay and lesbian friends and has been speaking with them about transgender issues. Kelly did not say she has any transgender friends nor did she say she has been speaking with any transgender people but says her lesbian and gay friends believe transgender people should not be part of the LGB community. Most LGBTQ people disagree.

Kelly invited on her SiriusXM show far-right extremist Steven Crowder, who has been accused of hurling “racist, homophobic taunts,” been called “overtly racist,” and who YouTube last year said was “indicating that trans people pose a rape threat to women.”

Crowder has also been called a “Rape Culture Apologist,” and criticized for mocking transgender people’s suicides.

On her show, Kelly called Crowder asking “what’s next” in the “slippery slope” of transgender civil rights and equality “if the left has their way?” a “fascinating question.”

“I’ve talked to a lot of gay and lesbian friends,” Kelly announced, (appearing to search hard for the word “friends,”) who “have said, ‘I don’t totally get why the T is at the end of LGBT,’ and the Q and all. The interests aren’t necessarily aligned,” she claimed, a position which most in the LGBTQ community disagree with.

“In fact, if you look at like the trans activists – like the crazy trans, not like normal – whatever, the crazy trans activists are so vicious, and they, they’re basically kind of doing conversion therapy on young gay men,” she claimed.

“‘You’re not gay, you’re trans, you’re secretly a girl,'” Kelly continued, claiming some trans people are saying. “‘It’s better to be trans than to be, queer, than to be than to be gay, just say that you’re a girl, then you can get rid of that whole gay thing.’ And we’re seeing more and more of this,” Kelly said.

“There is a question if the interests of the gay community are aligned, the way that GLAAD would have us believe,” she added, in a clear attempt to further marginalize transgender people.

LGBTQ Fox Corp. employees are calling out Fox News’ 'hateful' anti-gay rhetoric: report

Ever since their formation in 1977, the Log Cabin Republicans have been arguing that gay and lesbian rights should have a place in the conservative movement. The problem is that the homophobic Christian right’s stranglehold on the Republican Party never goes away, and far-right white evangelicals have way more influence on the GOP and the right-wing media than the small minority of moderate Republicans who favor pro-LQBTQ policies. And in 2022, some gay employees of Fox Corporation are speaking out against all of the homophobic and transphobic comments that have been coming from Fox News.

According to the Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona, all of the “overtly anti-LGBTQ rhetoric” that has been coming from Fox News during discussions of Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law has “generated outrage from elsewhere within the Murdoch media empire.”

“An employee networking and resource group for Fox Corporation’s LGBTQ staffers and allies, earlier this month, condemned the conservative cable giant’s ‘hateful’ coverage of the new Florida law and issues surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity,” Baragona explains in an article published on April 21. “The denunciation was in response to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) removing Fox Corp’s status as a preferred LGBTQ employer over its recent on-air rhetoric.”

Far-right Fox News host Laura Ingraham, for example, has been called out for the homophobic comments she has been making in defense of the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Disney has come out against the law, and Ingraham, in a March 30 diatribe, accused Disney of “grooming” children.

Ingraham accused Disney of “pushing a sexual agenda on little children across their entertainment platforms,” adding, “This is propaganda for grooming.”

In a message posted on a company-wide Slack channel on April 5, pro-LGBTQ staffers at Fox Corp wrote, “Fox Pride denounces statements made regarding sexual orientation and gender identity on FOX News in the past week…. While the internal support and resources Fox Corp. offers to LGBTQ+ employees are amazing and supportive, the public facing messaging and rhetoric is the opposite. We find it disheartening and a step backward in the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.”

That internal Slack message, Baragona notes, was “first reported by” FTV Live and “was verified and reviewed by The Daily Beast” — and that Slack channel “includes staffers from Fox News, Fox Weather, and other Fox brands.” The message, according to Baragona, “received dozens of positive emoji reactions from Fox-wide Slack users, including hearts and various pride flags.”

The message also read, “FOX News is one of the most watched cable networks in the nation and we must be mindful that the impact these words have on the LGBTQ+ community — especially youth. LGBTQ+ youth have the highest rate of suicide and words matter. Hateful words and generalizations about sexual orientation and gender identity have a direct impact on people’s lives. We are working to address and make sure our voices are heard.”

The type of “groomer” rhetoric that has been coming from so many MAGA Republicans, far-right White evangelicals and right-wing media outlets in response to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill is nothing new. For many years, homophobic extremists have been claiming that gay men and lesbians are predators who want to indoctrinate children into “the gay lifestyle.” And when Ingraham talks about “grooming,” her message isn’t subtle: gays are predators, and they’re coming for your children.

Baragona observes, “Starting last month, after Disney spoke out against the vaguely worded Florida bill banning discussion of sexuality and gender in school classrooms, Fox News hosts and commentators began melting down on air with a deceptive smear campaign targeting the Mouse House’s support for the LGBTQ community.”

Baragona also notes that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has removed Fox Corp. from its list of preferred LGBTQ employers because of the anti-gay rhetoric coming from Fox News.

Aryn Fields, HRC’s senior press secretary, complained, “Fox News has a history of sharing misinformation and disinformation about the LGBTQ+ community. We know from our own research, which we put out earlier this week, what their disinformation and misinformation means for the LGBTQ+ community: perpetuating stigma and marginalization of transgender and non-binary people. We can no longer allow Fox Corporation to maintain its score if Fox News personalities and contributors continue to deny the existence of transgender people, minimize the violence transgender individuals face, refer to parents of LGBTQ+ youth as perverts, or equate leaders of LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion efforts with sex offenders…. Enough is enough.”

A Daily Beast source described by Baragona as a “Fox insider” and interviewed on condition of anonymity told the Beast that many LGBTQ employees are “very outraged” by the homophobia coming from some Fox News pundits.

“The thing is, internally, the company values diversity,” that insider told the Beast. “They invest in it and foster it from a management perspective. The on-air Fox News product, however, spits in the face of it. The employees are getting sick of it.”

Anti-trans bills introduced in at least 7 states in the first week of 2022

During the first week of 2022, at least seven states introduced measures that would curtail the rights of transgender and non-binary youth.

According to NBC News, Republican state legislators in Arizona, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, New Hampshire and South Dakota have all proposed bills that would restrict trans and non-binary youths from accessing gender-affirming healthcare, participating in school sports, and using restrooms that correspond with their genders.

Last year saw an unprecedented wave of GOP-backed anti-trans measures in various states throughout the country. Back in May, the Human Rights Campaign called 2021 "the worst year in recent history for LGBTQ+ state legislative attacks," reporting that seventeen anti-trans laws had been enacted in states like Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Montana, and West Virginia. Many of these measures prohibited trans youth from using restrooms or participating in sports teams that aligned with their gender. Other measures carved out religious exemptions that grant a license for people to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.

This year, Republicans have shown no indication of slowing down in this effort.

Within the first week of 2022, legislatures in seven states proposed at least nine bills that institute anti-trans restrictions – a development that is sounding alarms for LGBTQ+ advocates.

"Unfortunately, I think we're getting ready to watch a race to the bottom among legislators who are in a competition to see who can do the most harm to trans kids," Gillian Branstetter, of the National Women's Law Center, told NBC News. "It is a hostile and dangerous trend that I'm sure we'll see continue through the year."

Among the states leading this year's charge are Arizona, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, New Hampshire and South Dakota.

In South Dakota, reported NBC News, Republican lawmakers proposed a bill that leverages a bounty system deputizing other students to report instances in which a trans student uses certain school facilities. The bill largely mirrors that of Texas' near-total abortion ban passed last year, which established a private cause of action for any Texans who witness someone aiding or abetting in an abortion past six weeks into pregnancy.

Chase Strangio, the deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, told NBC News that he expects similar bounty-type systems to be used in 2022.

"One concern that people have moving forward is, 'How are lawmakers going to try and avoid accountability and judicial review?'" Strangio said. "I think one way is to limit government enforcement of their laws and sort of deputize private individuals to act as government officials to essentially be the people enforcing the law through private lawsuits."

The sustained anti-trans push is likely to have devastating impacts on trans youth, both physically and mentally. According to the Trevor Project poll released Monday, "two-thirds of LGBTQ youth report that the recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people has impacted their mental health negatively."

Amit Paley, CEO of The Trevor Project, said that "these results underscore how recent politics and ongoing crises facing the globe can have a real, negative impact on LGBTQ young people, a group consistently found to be at significantly increased risk for depression, anxiety and attempting suicide because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society."

Thousands of LGBTQ+ Israelis received text messages to ‘repent’ or face ‘death’: report

The Jerusalem Post has reported that thousands of LGBTQ+ Israelis received text messages saying they “deserve severe punishment, death and deportation” and calling on them to “repent.” The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel confirmed the news Monday.

“You are LGBT and an apostate. You deserve severe punishment, death and deportation from Israel,” the message read. “Come to Yeshiva Ohr Elhanan in order to repent. We would be glad if you undergo conversion to faith.”

According to The Jerusalem Post, “The message included a phone number and a Telegram account to contact and stated that it was sent by Rabbi Chaim Aryeh Hadash, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ohr Elhanan. The rabbi has denied that he has any connection to the message, saying he has never talked about the issue and the issue is not addressed in his yeshiva.”

The Agudah and the Havruta organization for LGBTQ+ religious Jewish men invited Hadash to a dialogue with the LGBTQ+ religious Jewish community. They also called in a letter for Hadash to publish a public condemnation of the messages sent in his name and to “prevent the further great desecration of God that has already been done.”

READ: House investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection just took an unexpected turn: report

The director-general of the Israel Internet Association, Yoram Hacohen, called for police to investigate whether the person who sent the text used data from the Black Shadow attack, adding that “Since these are text messages, it is possible to find out their source and take criminal action against the perpetrators…These are, on the face of it, elements who have grossly violated the Privacy Protection Law – I call on Israel Police to act immediately to locate the perpetrators. They have the tools to do that.”

This latest incident comes just days after a seminar hosted by the 105 hotline for the protection of children online concerning harm against LGBTQ+ youth online.

Watch: NC Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson berates Democratic lawmaker for denouncing his anti-LGBTQ hate speech

North Carolina’s Republican Lt. Governor Mark Robinson lashed out at a Democratic state lawmaker after she delivered a speech urging elected leaders to try to understand and equally represent all their constituents, including people of color and LGBTQ people.

“Next time before you get ready to say something on that floor come see me,” Robinson barked at state Sen. Julie Mayfield after her speech, suggesting he had power over her and she needed his permission to speak about him, as video shot by Democratic state Senator Natasha Marcus shows:

“Robinson ‘berated’ state Sen. Julie Mayfield,” The News & Observer reports, “and wagged his finger in front of her face, saying he didn’t appreciate her ‘equating Black people with gay people,’ according to Mayfield and another lawmaker who witnessed the encounter. Robinson’s comments were in response to a speech Mayfield gave,” in which she “highlighted deadly violence against Black people and discrimination against LGBTQ people.”

“It is convenient fiction that we can say something in a particular forum and not expect to be held accountable for those words in another,” Mayfield said, referring to several instances in which Robinson has made anti-LGBTQ comments and made national headlines. “We are elected officials. And if we can’t respect our constituents rather than viciously attack some of them, then maybe we’re in the wrong job.”

Sen. Marcus described Robinson’s attack on Mayfield as “a rant.”

“He berated her, and he yelled as loudly as he could,” Marcus added. “Sen. Mayfield’s remarks speak what’s in the hearts of most North Carolinians, and the fact that it set the lieutenant governor off that much is shocking to me.”

If the Supreme Court shoots down Roe v. Wade, there could be an all-out assault on gay rights

After decades of longing for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973, anti-abortion zealots may finally get their wish. The High Court, on December 1, began hearing oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization a case that is examining the constitutionality of a highly restrictive anti-abortion law in Mississippi. If the Court upholds the Mississippi law, overturns Roe and assaults abortion rights, there is every reason to believe that gay rights won’t be far behind.

That is not to say that Dobbs deals with gay rights per se. Dobbs is about abortion specifically, and defenders of the Mississippi law are arguing that the Roe decision was an attack on states’ rights — that the state government in Mississippi, not the federal government, should be able to decide how it governs and regulates abortion. But legal experts, including Laurence Tribe, have pointed out that if the High Court doesn’t respect abortion as a national right, it won’t respect gay liberties as a national right either.

Although Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the United States’ last eight presidential elections, the Supreme Court now has six justices appointed by Republican presidents and only three justices nominated by Democratic presidents. This is the most hard-right Supreme Court in generations, and the Dobbs case is almost certain to end with Roe being overturned — or at the very least, gutted. Even if Chief Justice John Roberts votes with the three Democratic nominees, the end of Roe appears likely.

Overturning Roe will not amount to a national abortion ban, but rather, would allow abortion rights to be decided on a state-by-state basis. So post-Roe, abortion would likely be banned in a long list of red states while remaining legal in blue states like California, Oregon and Massachusetts. And that would affect gay rights because the Christian Right and its lawyers would argue that if a 48-year-old precedent like Roe can be overturned, there is no reason why gay rights rulings should not be overturned as well.

In fact, Tribe, co-founder of the American Constitution Society, specifically discussed gay rights during a December 1 appearance on Lawrence O’Donnell’s MSNBC show, explaining why the end of Roe will lead to a variety of assaults on civil liberties.

Tribe — whose students, over the years, have ranged from President Barack Obama to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to Chief Justice Roberts — told O’Donnell, “All along, we have expanded rights. Brown v. Broad expanded rights beyond what Plessy had said. Lawrence v. Texas expanded rights for LGBT people. We’ve expanded. But if we do now what the Court is poised to do, it will be the first turnaround. We will have lost our virginity basically. And once we do it this time, it’s going to be a lot easier to do it next time with contraception, with same-sex marriage, with gun rights, for example. Rights that conservatives like, rights that liberals like. It’s always been a matter of expanding rights; this will be the first reversal of that trend.”

Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 Supreme Court ruling, was a major victory for gay rights because it struck down a sodomy law in Texas as unconstitutional — and by doing so, the Court struck down sodomy laws in other states as well. Hated by the Christian Right, Lawrence was, like Roe, what legal scholars call a right-to-privacy decision. Far-right social conservatives believe there is no right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution, while liberal and progressive groups like the ACLU and People for the American Way — as well as some right-wing libertarians such as former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy — believe that there is.

The right-to-privacy argument also prevailed in Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 High Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Just as Roe established a national standard for abortion rights, Lawrence and Obergefell set national standards with gay rights — Lawrence for sexual activities, Obergefell for the right of same-sex couples to get married.

If Roe falls, it will give the Christian Right hope that Lawrence and Obergefell can be overturned as well. Post-Roe, the Christian Right argument for overturning those decisions will be along the lines of: “the Court has decided that Roe was wrongly decided in 1973, and that individual states must decide for themselves whether or not to have legal abortion — so why should there be a national standard for gay rights? The High Court has struck down Roe as unconstitutional, and applying that standard, Lawrence and Obergefell must be struck down as well.”

Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Justice Samuel Alito and other social conservatives who are likely to vote to overturn Roe would likely vote to overturn Lawrence and Obergefell as well.

Right-wing jurists, in some cases, can turn out to be highly protective of civil liberties. Anthony Kennedy, a right-wing Ronald Reagan appointee, was fiscally conservative during his decades on the High Court, but he often sided with the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when it came to abortion and gay rights. The current leaning of the Court, however, is more in the direction of Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Justice Antonin Scalia — that is, Christian Right conservative rather than libertarian/Cato Institute/Reason Magazine conservative.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the Christian Right assault on civil liberties will not end with abortion. And gay rights, from sexual freedom to marital rights, will be a prime candidate for the fundamentalist chopping block.

Anti-mask parent attacked school board chair by outing her 8-year-old trans daughter

As Daily Kos continues to chronicle, school board meetings across the nation have been steadily picking up both local and national media attention, and for an important reason. Why? If it’s not people protesting mask mandates, it’s people speaking up for (or, sadly, against) trans rights. In both of these cases, the people affected are students and the people who work with them—teachers, janitorial staff, bus drivers, and so on. As reported by CNN, a school board election in the small town of Hastings, Minnesota, involves conservative hysteria on both masks and trans rights—and led to an 8-year-old trans girl being outed. After she was outed, she was allegedly bullied by her peers.

Who did the outing? According to CNN, anti-mask parents took it upon themselves to attack and out the little girl, who is the daughter of Kelsey Waits, the school board chair, because they disagreed with COVID-19 policies at the school. Waits, interestingly, is also a conservative but has enough decency to be pro-mask and supportive of her daughter. Now, she says she and her family are leaving the town altogether due to the harassment.

Waits, the mother of two children, was elected to the school board in 2016 even though she actually homeschooled her older child. Still, she won her election and served for two years before becoming chair. Waits ultimately lost her recent reelection bid. Waits told CNN she feels “betrayed” by her community—not because she lost her reelection by just over 400 votes, but because “not only did people attack a child, but so many of them sat by and allowed it to happen."

Waits became aware of a secret Facebook group where conservative folks in her town talked local politics, including their stance against mask mandates. Given the current political climate, that’s not surprising, but what did ultimately surprise—and horrify—Waits is that someone allegedly posted revealing her daughter is trans. While Waits told CNN she and her husband affirmed their daughter’s identity and supported her, their child’s gender identity had been kept private.

One parent reportedly posted to the group saying Waits should be “locked up” for “child abuse” because she and her husband were affirming their child’s identity. Someone else commented and suggested the Waits had pushed their “woke” views on their child. From there, Waits said people started using the wrong pronouns for her daughter.

"You out a kid before they're ready, you're subjecting them to that sort of behavior that's going to increase their risk of suicide," Waits told CNN, adding that being on the school board is not about her kid, but about “protecting all kids.”

And now? The Waits family is moving. Not all families have the means to relocate due to abuse or harassment, and while the Waits are clearly doing their very best to support and protect their children, it’s deeply, deeply disturbing that mean-spirited adults in a Facebook group opened up a very young child up to this sort of harassment.

People are really, really letting their cruelty show when it comes to trans folks, and especially trans youth. We’ve seen stories about libraries having to cancel events for kids because of violent threats just because a facilitator happens to be trans, or because the books include marginalized identities. We’ve seen trans kids testify on behalf of their own rights—something that’s both incredibly brave and incredibly sad. Parents have spoken up on behalf of trans youth, thankfully, but community members have also taken the chance to stomp down on them, too.

There is absolutely no harm done by treating people—including children—with dignity and respecting their name, pronouns, and giving them fair access to bathrooms, sports teams, and so on. It’s basic. It’s truly the bottom of the barrel when it comes to actually being inclusive. But of course, Republicans will do whatever it takes to distract from their own failures—even when it means attacking little kids.

'Let’s get a little ugly': North Carolina lieutenant governor says straight couples ‘superior’ to gay couples

North Carolina's far-right Christian nationalist Lt. Governor, Republican Mark Robinson, set his sights on LGBTQ people once again, attacking same-sex relationships as inferior to heterosexual ones while proudly declaring even cow manure is superior because it serves a "purpose."

"I can't stand to turn that TV on and I don't want my grandkids watching that television because I don't want to have to explain to my grandkids why two men are kissing," said Robinson, speaking in a church, according to Right Wing Watch (video below). "And I don't care what anybody thinks about that. Get mad at me if you want to you. Ain't no child got no business seeing no two men kiss. If they did, God would have made it that way! He didn't!"

"Everything that God made serves a purpose," Robinson continued, as his attacks on LGBTQ people were applauded.

"I don't care how ugly it is. Let's get a little ugly," he said proudly. "I want you to think about what the cows leave behind. It don't get no uglier than that," he said, explaining that manure is fertilizer that makes "the grass so green."

Robinson's sermon essentially says that the only real "purpose" humans have is to reproduce, and since gay people don't directly reproduce they serve no purpose. Anything LGBTQ people create is meaningless in Robinson's world.

"Let's get down to brass tacks. What is the purpose of homosexuality? What does it create?" Robinson shouted. "If homosexuality is of God, what purpose does it serve? What does it make? What does it create? It creates nothing."

"Somebody asked me in the classroom one time, this fella was a homosexual [and he] looked at me and said, 'Oh, so you think your wife and you, you think your heterosexual relationship is superior to my husband and our homosexual relationship?' Yes!" Robinson shouted, as his audience laughed and applauded.

"He said, 'I'd like for you to explain that' and so I did."

Robinson went on to explain that if you put a same-sex couple in a "dark room," and a different-sex couple in a dark room after nine months the heterosexual couple will have made a baby and that makes them "superior," because "that's the way God created it to be," he shouted, pounding the podium.

"And I'm tired of this society trying to tell me it's not so," Robinson shouted. "Society has completely purged God from the building and from the equation and because of it, we're headed down into a rabbit hole that's gonna lead us to something we can't even imagine. God destroyed a society because of its immorality. And let's get this straight: In this country, we don't have a homosexual issue—that's just a tool of the devil to continue to divide us and lead us into immorality."


Florida school board member faces criticism after filing a criminal complaint over LGBTQ book

All around the United States, far-right MAGA Republicans have been declaring war on the teaching of "critical race theory" in public schools — even though CRT, a field of anti-racist academic study, is only being taught on some college campuses. This right-wing campaign against public school teachers and books can cross over into LGBTQ subjects. In Florida, for example, culture warrior Jill Woolbright, a member of the Flagler County School Board, has filed a criminal complaint with her country's sheriff's office over the presence of a book by New Jersey-based gay author George M. Johnson.

The book is "All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto," which has been available in some high schools and middle schools in Florida. The book deals with growing up Black and gay, and Woolbright wants it removed.

Woolbright told WESH-TV Channel 2 (the NBC affiliate in Orlando), "I don't have a problem with the book; I do have a problem with where the book has been placed. Some child could be disturbed to read a book that they're not ready for."

In the police report that she filed, the Flagler County School Board member complained, "Chapter 11 discusses in detail, and (is) very descriptive, about masturbation and oral sex. Chapter 15, 'Losing My Virginity Twice,' is also very descriptive and discusses masturbation, oral sex and sodomy."

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In the public schools of the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway or Spain, a book like "All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto" wouldn't even be controversial. School officials in those West European countries, even those who identify as conservative or politically right-of-center, tend to believe that teenagers are less likely to have sexual problems — from STIs to unplanned pregnancies — if they have easier access to sexual information and sex is discussed openly and candidly. Sex education in West European countries, as a rule, is more explicit than it is in the U.S. and operates from a knowledge-is-power standpoint.

Johnson, in fact, doesn't see why his book has become controversial in Florida.

WESH quotes Johnson as saying, "My book is not what is doing your child harm — it is you who will do your child harm by not allowing them to: (1) learn that other people exist in this world who have a different lived experience than them, and (2) not allowing them to have the language or this particular resource to deal with the problems that will come to them in this world when they arise."

Some of the backlash Woolbright is facing is coming from Cheryl Massaro, a fellow member of the Flagler County School Board. Massaro is calling Woolbright out and stressing that she doesn't speak for everyone on the Board.

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On her Facebook page, Massaro wrote, "I can no longer remain silent and allow a rogue school board member to destroy the hard work of our current and prior board members…. While I firmly believe that Ms. Woolbright is entitled to freely voice her opinion on district issues, I also believe she crossed the line when she filed a criminal complaint against the Flagler Schools' Superintendent and Attorney with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office for permitting books that she believes to be pornographic to be available to middle and high school students. By failing to allow for the investigative process to unfold, she bypassed established District policies and procedures."

‘Needs to be investigated as a crime’: FL school board member files criminal complaint over teen LGBTQ book

A member of the Flagler County, Florida school board has filed a criminal complaint over four copies of an LGBTQ book recommended for 14 to 18 year olds, claiming it violates the state's obscenity laws.

"My concern is for the children of Flagler County," Jill Woolbright claims, according to the Palm Coast Observer. "This book needs to be investigated as a crime in our media center. This is pretty heavy stuff, violating our own policies. That's why I felt the need to file the report, so I know it will be investigated."

The book Woolbright calls a "crime" is titled, "All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto," by George M. Johnson. calls it "An Amazon Best Book of the Year optioned for television by Gabrielle Union!"

Woolbright's complaint is just the latest attack against LGBTQ books in school libraries, which is an attack on LGBTQ students, who desperately need representation, validation, confirmation, and to see themselves in cultural works and in society.

In May Woolbright appeared on the WNZF radio show "Today with Pastor J" and declared becoming a school board member was her "calling."

"Who I am is a child of God and it influences everything I say and do," she said, "because that's what it means to be a child of God. I'll just put it out there, yes I am a Christian, and people knew that going in, and it affects my decisions."

"I pray a lot about my job," Woolbright added.

The publisher's description calls "All Boys Aren't Blue" a "primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color."

"All Boys Aren't Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy."

Amazon lists the popular book's achievements:

Featured on Good Morning America and Fox Soul
Amazon Best Book of the Year
CNN Summer Read Pick
Teen Vogue Recommended Read
Buzzfeed Recommended Read
People Magazine Best Book of the Summer
An Indie Bestseller
An ALA Rainbow List Pick
A New York Library Best Book of 2020
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2020
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2020
Publishers Weekly Anti-Racist Reading List Pick
2021 Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List Pick
A Kids' Book Choice Award Finalist
#1 YALSA Teen's Top Ten List Winner

Just one day earlier, on Wednesday, South Carolina's Republican Governor Henry McMaster ordered another LGBTQ book for teenagers banned from school libraries, calling it obscene, "deeply disturbing," "manifestly inappropriate," and even "pornographic." He, too, ordered law enforcement to investigate, claiming the book's very existence in school libraries "is likely illegal" under state law.

Dennis Prager bafflingly claims gay men weren't seen as ‘pariahs’ during the AIDS crisis

Dennis Prager, a longtime far right wing columnist and radio talk show host on Monday falsely claimed gay men were never treated as "pariahs" during the height of the AIDS crisis, as he defended those who are refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 while insisting they are treated even worse than people living with HIV/AIDS.

After lying that President Joe Biden has "destroyed" the American economy, and falsely calling fear of global warming "irrational" and "sick," Prager launched into what was actually a whitewashing of his own attacks on people living with HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS activists.

"During the AIDS crisis can you imagine if gay men and intravenous drug users, who were the vast majority of people with AIDS, had they been pariahs the way that the non-vaccinated are? But it would have been inconceivable and should have been inconceivable – they should not have been made pariahs but this is kosher this is okay. You can make the non-vaccinated" into pariahs, he declared on Newsmax. "It's a different America."

In 2007, and in 2014, as Media Matters detailed, Prager called heterosexual people contracting HIV a "myth." He claimed that "heterosexual AIDS … has been entirely manufactured by the Left."

In 2016 Prager continued his attacks on HIV/AIDS activists, as Right Wing Watch reported:

"The left has a monopoly, almost a monopoly, on hysteria," he said. "And I will just give you a few examples of the hysterias of your lifetime. One was heterosexual AIDs in America. Do you remember that? when we were told by Time and Newsweek and The New York Times, remember when they said AIDS doesn't discriminate? Well, that was a lie. AIDS does discriminate. It happens to attack in America—and I emphasize in America— overwhelmingly, gay men and intravenous drug users and his partners. You know the group least likely to get AIDS? Gay women. So it can't be homophobic to say the truth."
"Heterosexual AIDS in America was a hysteria," he declared.

Nearly 4 in 10 young adults say they are LGBTQ, Christian university study finds

In one of the largest estimations of how many people identify as non-heterosexual, a 120-page study from a Christian University reveals nearly four in ten young adults count themselves as LGBTQ.

Religion and culture researcher, evangelical pollster, and now professor at Arizona Christian University in Phoenix, George Barna's Cultural Research Center has just published a report focused on Millennials.

Among its findings: 39% of those 18-24 identify as LGBTQ, and 25% of those 25-37 do as well. Overall, "nearly one-third of the Millennial cohort (30 percent) describes itself as LGBTQ." Barna says that represents "roughly three times the proportion identified among the combined older adults of the nation."

One-third of Millennials say they believe in God.

40 percent identify as liberal or progressive, just 29 percent as conservative.

"A record-breaking 40 percent of young adults fit the 'Don'ts' category," says Barna, which he defines as "People who don't know if God exists, don't care if God exists, or don't believe that He exists."

There are more statistical surprises in Barna's report.

The largest groups who identify as LGBTQ are those he lists as "no college" (34%), and live in the Midwest (35%).

And while 38% have no religion, more than one in four (28%) are Born-Again Christian, and 30% have children under the age of 18.

Last month Barna, as Right Wing Watch's Peter Montgomery reported, "told religious-right activists at the Family Research Council's 'Pray Vote Stand' summit … that it is their duty to try to indoctrinate other people's children into a 'biblical worldview.'"

So it's not surprising Barna's report includes a good deal of non-statistical editorializing.

On the increasing number of people who identify as LGBTQ he says: "Given the moral and political implications of such an identity, that self-characterization alone raises a range of emotional challenges."

"Challenges to our mental health are to be expected," Barna continues. "After all, most adults – and especially younger adults – now believe there is no absolute moral truth. A minority accept the Bible as a true and reliable guide for determining right and wrong. Only one-third of Millennials say they choose to always respect God and other people. No wonder young adults are feeling anxious, depressed and unsafe. Their own attitudes and those of other Americans have created an environment that cannot help but produce such feelings. Without any anchors for truth, emotions, decision-making, relational boundaries, or purpose, a sense of anomie and disconnectedness is only natural."

Barna, who is also a senior research fellow at the Family Research Council's Center for Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, (FRC appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups) doesn't hold the rest of society, certainly not anti-LGBTQ hate groups or anti-LGBTQ faith-based groups, including conservative houses of worship, responsible for any of that.

Log Cabin Republicans endorse a candidate who likened an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum to teaching ‘sodomy’

On Monday, less than 24 hours before Election Day the Log Cabin Republicans announced their endorsement for governor of New Jersey, affixing their seal of approval onto Republican Jack Ciattarelli, who has likened an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum to teaching "sodomy."

"If #NewJersey is truly to be LGBT-friendly, we need a governor who respects freedom and opportunity and allows us to live our lives without government getting in the way. That is only attainable with @Jack4NJ at the helm," the Log Cabin Republicans of New Jersey said about Ciattarelli, not in an official announcement but in a tweet.

The national Log Cabin Republicans retweeted the announcement.

Ciattarelli, a state assemblyman from 2011 to 2018, opposed same-sex marriage when it was before the legislature.

In late June Ciattarelli promised supporters that when he's governor "sodomy" will no longer be taught to 6th graders and promised that "sexual orientation" will no longer be taught to kindergarteners, which they aren't.

"I feel lucky [our kids] are in their 20s and I don't have to be dealing with what you're dealing with right now," Ciattarelli said. "You won't have to deal with it when I'm governor, but we're not teaching gender ID and sexual orientation to kindergarteners. We're not teaching sodomy in sixth grade. And we're going to roll back the LGBTQ curriculum. It goes too far."

In July Garden State Equality called Ciattarelli's comments "offensive, uninformed," and "out-of-touch with New Jersey family values—love, acceptance, and compassion."

"He voted against marriage equality not once, but twice," they added. "Now, he is trotting out that same hateful, divisive talk that might have helped get him elected decades ago, but his angry, hurtful words are antiquated and should stay in the dustbin of history."

"I feel lucky [our kids] are in their 20s and I don't have to be dealing with what you're dealing with right now," Ciattarelli said. "You won't have to deal with it when I'm governor, but we're not teaching gender ID and sexual orientation to kindergarteners. We're not teaching sodomy in sixth grade. And we're going to roll back the LGBTQ curriculum. It goes too far."

In July Garden State Equality called Ciattarelli's comments "offensive, uninformed," and "out-of-touch with New Jersey family values—love, acceptance, and compassion."

"He voted against marriage equality not once, but twice," they added. "Now, he is trotting out that same hateful, divisive talk that might have helped get him elected decades ago, but his angry, hurtful words are antiquated and should stay in the dustbin of history."

The head of the activism arm of Focus on the Family, an anti-LGBTQ religious right group, has praised Ciattarelli for being "clear in his objection to the social and sexual indoctrination happening in New Jersey public schools."

Teachers union boss schools GOP Sen. Cotton: ‘Is this a new hateful homophobic slur?’

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) is under fire after attacking Randi Weingarten, the president of the nation's second-largest teachers' union, claiming she is not a mother and therefore should not have anything to do with children.

Throwing support to Republican Glenn Youngkin, the GOP nominee for governor of Virginia, Fox News' Bill Hemmer attacked Randi "Weingartener," mispronouncing the veteran labor leader's name.

Calling Weingarten a "target," Hemmer told Cotton that Democratic Virginia gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe had the American Federation of Teachers' president on stage on Monday.

"What's that tell you?" Hemmer asked.

After slamming McAuliffe, Cotton went on to attack Weingarten.

"Randi Weingarten is a joke," Cotton told the Fox News host.

"Randi Weingarten does not even have children of her own. What the hell does she know about raising and teaching kids?" Cotton asked, falsely claiming she "shut down schools for two years" because of COVID. Cotton also appeared to suggest having children in the home was too difficult.

Weingarten did not hesitate to blast the Arkansas Republican.

"Wait…Did I misread this or did Tom Cotton just say any teacher who is not also a parent shouldn't be able to teach?" she tweeted. "Really? Is he now disqualifying every nun from teaching? Or is this simply a new divisive & hateful homophobic slur against LGBTQ teachers?"

The 63-year old Democrat who is a lawyer, a former teacher, a lesbian, and married wasn't finished.

"I guess Sen Cotton hasn't done his homework and doesn't know I have step-children, grandkids & nieces and nephews. They would certainly be surprised by his comments. As would the many students I taught ( and loved) at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn," she added.

"Millions of people who raise and teach and care for America's children are not parents. Parents everywhere rely on their expertise. Parents everywhere rely on the profound commitment we all must have to other people's children, their health, well-being, and potential," Weingarten, proving her educator bona fides, continued schooling Cotton.

"We owe them- teachers who are parents, and teachers who are not parents- our thanks, not insults," Weingarten added. "Parents and educators are partners, and must work together to help our kids thrive… stop the dog whistles Tom and help us help our kids recover."

Federal judge rules for-profit faith-based businesses can discriminate against LGBTQ people

A federal district court judge in Texas has ruled in favor of a longtime virulently anti-LGBTQ activist, deciding that for-profit businesses and religious entities like churches can discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment.

The ruling comes more than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ workers.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007, ruled in favor of Dr. Steven Hotze (photo). In his ruling Judge O'Connor cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First Amendment, according to Bloomberg Law.

In April of 2015 Dr. Hotze, a GOP powerbroker, compared same-sex marriage to the Holocaust and gay people to murderers, defending his belief that Texas should ignore the impending Supreme Court ruling that found same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage.

Hotze filed the lawsuit in May on behalf of his Christian-based healthcare business, Braidwood Management Inc., and Bear Creek Bible Church, so they can "hire and fire in accordance with sincerely held religious beliefs and employment policies," according to the 70-page ruling.

Dr. Hotze in not only a business owner and anti-LGBTQ activist. He is deeply involved in Texas state politics.

Last year Hotze demanded Gov. Greg Abbott order the National Guard to "shoot to kill" Black Lives Matter protestors marching against police brutality, especially the police shootings of unarmed Black men, according to the Texas Tribune.

"I want you to give a message to the governor," Hotze told Abbott's chief of staff, Luis Saenz, in a voicemail. "I want to make sure that he has National Guard down here and they have the order to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a bitches. That's the only way you restore order. Kill 'em. Thank you."