Fabian Nelson won a Democratic primary runoff in Mississippi’s 66th state House districtand he’s now the state’s first openly gay legislator, The Guardian noted. (Republicans are not running a candidate for the general election scheduled for the fall.) Nelson’s victory left Louisiana as the only state never to have elected an LGBTQ+ person to its legislature. In an interview with the Associated Press, Nelson called his election to the Mississippi house “a dream” and “shocking.” But Nelsona 38-year-old realtor who’s also a foster fatheralso said, “Ultimately, what won this campaign is the fact that I’m in touch with my community and the issues my community is facing.”
In Columbus, Ohio, a dismissal and some online rhetoric has some questioning whether two Short North establishments remain friendly and safe spots for the Columbus LGBTQ+ community, per The Columbus Dispatch. Nick Elkovitch took to Facebook recently to express his feelings after he was let go from his job at Union Cafe and Axis Nightclubtwo Short North spots popular with the LGBTQ+ community. Elkovitch said he was dismissed on July 31 and given 30 minutes to clear out, adding that three other senior managers were also let go this year. In 2022, Michael Purdum (who founded and owns the Old Bag of Nails restaurant group) bought Union Cafe and Axisand Elkovitch subsequently revealed that Purdum has contributed to GOP causes and candidates. Joey Steward, the executive manager for the two clubs, sent a company statement to the Dispatch that contradicted Elkovitch’s assessment.
In Pennsylvania, the Gettysburg Area School District board renewed the contract of a trans tennis coach after stalling the decision due to what many believe was concern over her gender, LGBTQ Nation noted. The board stated that coach Sasha Yates’s transgender identity had nothing to do with the fact that it delayed a vote on renewing her contract, although community members felt differently. Yates has been coaching the boys’ and girls’ tennis teams in the district since 2018 and reportedly has a “stellar coaching record.”
The furniture manufacturing-and-retail company Mitchell Gold + Bob Williamsnamed after the two gay businessmen who founded the firm in 1989 before selling it in 2015is shutting down all its operations due to a sudden loss of financing, The Washington Blade reported. During Gold and Williams’ time as owners, the company expanded its operations from a single furniture store in D.C. to the operation of 24 high-end furniture stores across the country and three furniture factories in North Carolina. The Washington Post reported that many of the company’s estimated 800 employees received word of the shutdown and their impending layoff through a letter posted at the company’s factories and stores by the Stephens Group, a Little Rock, Arkansas, equity firm that bought the company from Gold and Williams in 2015.
A Maryland transgender boy’s parents have been charged with second-degree murder in his deathin a case authorities said is an example of criminal neglect, The Advocate reported. Morgan Moore died May 10, 2022, at age 17 at his home in Montgomery Village; his passing is being recognized as one of the violent deaths of transgender people in 2022. Police and paramedics were called to his home, where they found him unresponsive. He weighed only 79 pounds, and his father and mother, Dominique and Cynthia Moore, said he hadn’t seen a doctor in two years. The local medical examiner did not officially classify Morgan’s death as a homicide until April.
Doug Quintthe co-founder of soft-serve chain Big Gay Ice Creamis suing his partner, Jon Chapski, for mismanaging the company’s finances and fraudulently collecting government loans, according to a Business Insider item that cited The New York Times. In a lawsuit filed in the New York State Supreme Court, Quint (who is seeking at least $4 million in damages) accused Chapski of neglecting to pay rent at Big Gay Ice Cream locations resulting in at least four eviction proceedings. The suit also accused Chapski of “willfully ignoring” Quint’s decisions around the creative direction of the company.
Some central Florida lawmakers said they were considering “all legislative, legal and executive options available” to stop business owners in the town of Mount Dora from voluntarily displaying rainbow decals in their windows indicating that they are “safe places” for LGBTQ+ people, the AP noted. The lawmakers cited boycotts of Bud Light and Target, which followed the brands’ efforts to promote diversity and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community even though Mount Dora’s city council approved the Safe Place Initiative last month.
Days after blocking a gender-affirming care ban in Georgia, Judge Sarah Geraghty, of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, reinstated it based on an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Alabama allowing a similar ban to take effect, LGBTQ Nation noted. In her August decision, Geraghty ruled that the trans children who sought the injunction on Georgia’s Senate Bill 140 faced “imminent risks” from the ban. However, she changed her mind after the appeals court ruled that states have “a compelling interest in protecting children from drugs, particularly those for which there is uncertainty regarding benefits, recent surges in use, and irreversible effects.”
A preliminary hearing has been set to take place Oct. 17 for the man charged with the murder of drag queen, barber and singer Curtis Marsh, who was found stabbed to death in his Oakland apartment earlier this year, per The Advocate. Sweven Waterman is accused of murdering Marsh, a member of the Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus and Olivet Oakland Church. Waterman pled not guilty to the charges in April, and is still in custody. (Marsh’s official obituary is at https://www.prughfuneral.com/obituary/Curtis-Marsh.)
The Alaska Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a ban on transgender athletes participating in girls’ high-school sports/ per Alaska Public Media. The change will apply to all public high schools in the state competing under the Alaska School Activities Association. Board Chair James Fields said an athlete who identifies as intersex or athletes who transitioned genders before puberty may be able to receive a waiver allowing them to participate on sports teams that match their gender identityafter going through an appeal process. There are currently 19 states with active bans on trans athletes competing in sports that match their gender identity.
Ousted openly gay CNN host Don Lemon regained support after a resurfaced interview showed him taking Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy to task over the latter’s revisionist history about how Black people gained civil rights, per Yahoo! Entertainment. An April interview showed Ramaswamy appearing on CNN This Morning and stating that the National Rifle Association was helpful in the process of Black people securing rights. The heated exchange is speculated to have played a role in Lemon being fired.
Campus Pride will not include Florida or Texas schools in its list of best colleges and universities for LGBTQ+ students to attend, per The Advocate. Instead, the organization issued a “red alert” warning the schools will fall in rankings and that state leaders have put institutions’ academic reputations at risk. Campus Pride cited a law barring Florida’s public colleges and universities from spending any funds on DEI initiatives programs or classes in excluding the University of Central Florida and the University of North Florida.
Brigham Young University (BYU) administrators have implemented an explicit ban on “same-sex romantic behavior” in the school’s Honor Code, Yahoo! News noted. In 2020, the school deleted a ban on “homosexual behavior” from the Honor Code. However, soon afterward, the Church Educational Systemwhich governs all the BYU campusesclarified that the deletion didn’t mean “same-sex romantic behavior” was acceptable. LGBTQ+ groups for BYU students and alums opposed the prohibition but added that at least the school is being up front about its attitudes.
The mother of a California teenage boy who died by suicide said bullying led to his death, The Advocate reported. In the aftermath of her son Salvador’s death, Eunice Rios posted a TikTok video. “I support the gay community, always. Always. Love is love. But as a mom, it was not easy to accept that my son was going to be exposed, go through all these ordeals because the world is so mean,” Rios explained. “My son, he experienced embarrassment, humiliation, pain.”
In Florida, the Miami-Dade County School Board is considering a proposal for the school district to recognize October as LGBTQ+ History Monthbut the move is facing opposition from board members who say the recognition could run afoul of the state’s “don’t say gay” legislation, The Advocate reported. The board approved a similar resolution in 2021; however, it rejected the proposal last year following passage of the controversial law.
The Safeguarding American Values for Everyone (SAVE) Foundation launched the Miami Beach Cares Campaign, funded by the City of Miami Beach, per a press release. The campaign serves LGBTQ+ youths and their allies by providing an extensive directory that includes multiple organizations committed to championing the LGBTQ+ community throughout Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County. For more info, visit https://www.miamibeachcares.lgbt/ .
In Iowa, Essex Mayor Calvin Kinney single-handedly decided to exclude an LGBTQ+ group from participating in the community’s Labor Day parade, The Advocate noted. Shenandoah Pride planned to have a small group walking with a banner and a drag performer riding in a convertible, handing out candy, popsicles and stickers. However, Kinney decided to ban the group without seeking the city council’s consent. Via a letter sent to Kinney and City Attorney Mahlon Sorensen, the ACLU of Iowa condemned the decision to exclude Shenandoah Pride.
California’s Spreckels Union School District will pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by Jessica Konena mother who claimed school officials convinced her child to identify as bisexual and transgender, and hid the information from her, The Advocate noted, citing NBC News. Under the settlement’s terms, the district denies any wrongdoing; the judge dismissed the suit “with prejudice,” which means it cannot be refiled.
Marty Algazean LGBTQ+-rights activist who had a long and successful career in New York Democratic politicsdied suddenly at age 72, per Gay City News. Algaze is best known for co-founding the Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC in 1986; SDNYC was formed by ex-Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats members who became disillusioned by that club’s internal politics. However, in a departure from his longstanding allegiance to the Democratic Party, Algaze also worked for Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani, serving under Fran Reiter, one of Giuliani’s deputy mayorsmeaning Algaze sometimes had to defend positions that he did not necessarily support. A memorial was slated for Sept. 8 at the LGBT Community Center; donations can be sent to the HIV-services group GMHC, where Algaze worked at one point.
A Michigan farmer won his lawsuit after he was denied a spot in a local farmer’s market because he did not allow same-sex wedding ceremonies on his property, The Advocate noted. U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney of the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division found the city of East Lansing improperly excluded Steve Tennes, of Country Mills Farms, from its local farmers market. Tennes rented part of his farm for weddings but did not allow same-sex ceremonies, as he said they violated his religious beliefs.
U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer ruled that law-enforcement officials couldn’t use a Tennessee law that strictly limits drag shows to interfere with a recent local Pride festival, per HuffPost. The ruling favored event organizers who sued after a district attorney warned he intends to enforce the new statute even after another federal judge ruled it unconstitutional. The temporary restraining order stopped District Attorney Ryan Desmond and other local officials from enforcing the state law or interfering with the Blount County Pride Festival.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, through the leadership of its HIV & Health Equity program, launched two programs that will work to engage LGBTQ+ Black and Latine young people, per a press release. The statement noted that “The GenHERate and GENERAR programs are part of the HRC Foundation’s My Body, My Health initiative, which works to promote healthy sex and sexuality through sex and body positivity; connect people to PrEP and HIV resources; and break through barriers related to systemic injustice, healthcare disparities, institutionalized racism, homophobia and transphobia.” See mybodymyhealth.org/ .
Also, Brandon Wolf is leaving Equality Florida to become the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, per an open letter. In part, Wolf said, “This opportunity is a powerful testament to the vital work of Equality Florida, the insight and experience we have developed in the resistance to DeSantis’s censorship agenda, and Florida’s place as a bellwether of the nation’s battle for freedom. I am honored to have been on this incredible team, who pour their hearts into the fight for a better future every day. And I can’t wait to continue partnering closely with them and all of youas we continue the battle for full equality.”
San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair will mark its 40th anniversary on Sept. 24 along Folsom Street between 8th and 13th streets, Secret San Francisco noted. Attendees will be able to peruse several hundred booths selling sex toys, gear and other products, as well as multiple performance stages with live music. There will also be lots of dancing, erotic performances, BDSM demonstrations and, in general, an adult community environment. See www.folsomstreet.org/ .
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has split from her longtime partner, journalist Suzanne Malveaux, according to The Advocate. Jean-Pierre revealed the news in an interview with Vogue. “I’m a single mom who is co-parenting this amazing kid,” Jean-Pierre said. “Our number-one priority is her privacy and to make sure we create an environment that’s nurturing.” The couple met at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
Elon Musk, the owner of X (formerly Twitter), is threatening to sue the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for defamation, claiming the nonprofit organization’s statements about rising hate speech on the social-media platform led to a steep decline in X’s advertising revenue, CNN noted. Musk also claimed that since he took over X in October 2022, the ADL “has been trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic.” The ADL said it does not comment on legal threats. However, the organization noted it recently met with X leadership, including CEO Linda Yaccarino, who later posted on X about the meeting, “A strong and productive partnership is built on good intentions and candor.”
A series of anti-LGBTQ+ flyers seen around Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) during Pride monthas well as a response from school officials that one advocate called “vague, almost cryptic”recently sparked discussion at the college, according to an item that Amplify Utah and The Salt Lake Tribune jointly published. The flyers, said student Kai Lyon (who works with SLCC’s Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center (GSSRC) through the college’s internship program), “made me feel … like I’m not respected. It’s not healthy for a learning environment, in any way or shape.” Some people said they wished SLCC officials had expressed more explicit words of solidarity with the queer community.