SCOTUS extends equality to birth certs
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may not treat married same-sex couples differently from others in issuing birth certificates. An Arkansas law required an opposite-sex husband, unlike same-sex spouses, be automatically listed as the father even if he is not the genetic parent.
The case was brought by two married lesbian couples with children conceived with anonymous donors. By law, the biological mothers were listed on the birth certificates but not the s/s spouse. The SCOTUS ruling changed that provision.
Uncivil disobedience in Alabama
Seven Alabama counties have not issued any marriage licenses since the decision legalizing same-sex marriage in June 2015. Prior to that ruling, from 2012 through 2014, the seven counties averaged 1,855 marriages per year.
No LGBT questions on 2020 Census
It been had hoped that questions about LGBTQ citizens would, for the first time, be included on the 2020 Census questionnaire. But no, the U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau said there was not a “legislative or administrative mandate” to ask the questions which guide federal agencies on creating budgets.
“The Census Bureau is really missing an opportunity to serve the federal agencies and the American people,” said Meghan Maury, director of the Criminal and Economic Justice Project at the National LGBTQ Task Force.
The Bureau can add questions about LGBT citizens to its American Community Survey (ACS), a yearly survey that supplements decennial census data.
Majority disapproves religious-based discrimination
In roughly 40,000 interviews, PRRI reports more than six in 10 Americans oppose allowing businesses to refuse to provide goods and services to LBGT on religious grounds.
White evangelical Protestants are the group most in favor of religiously motivated discrimination, though support has dropped from 56 percent to 50.
Mormons made a dramatic shift in opinion, the percent favoring religious discrimination dropped from 56 in 2015 to 42, with 52 percent opposed to discrimination.
A notable first-time entry in the NYC Pride Parade was the National Basketball Association, marking the first Major League sport to participate in Pride activities. Rick Welts, president of the Golden State Warriors, marched with his partner, Todd Gage, wearing a rainbow T-shirt that read, “Proud Champions.” Bill Kennedy, one of the NBA’s most respected referees who came out 18 months ago also joined the parade.
A Russian LGBT activist, Helena Kostyuchenko, was glad she could wear a dress and heels in the NYC parade. She contrasted how she dressed for Moscow Pride, no dress or heels because, “Your day will consist of thirty seconds of holding a banner, followed by being beaten and dragged off to the police station, possibly to be beaten again.” She was joined in by 250 people, as many people as took part in Kiev Pride three weeks earlier and at least 10 times the number in Moscow Pride last month.
Meanwhile in Chicago a group of Jewish LGBT marchers were banned because their banners featured the Israeli Flag. Parade organizers said the flag represented “aggressive Zionism,” which the parade’s mission statement eschews, and felt the flag would be offensive to Palestinian LGBT, who hail from a place where LGBT are stoned, burned or thrown off buildings.
Garfield, not the cat, plays gay
The controversy about an actor’s authenticity playing a sex, race, nationality or physical ability different than their off stage life has been taken to a new level by erstwhile Spider-man, Andrew Garfield. He’s been cast as Prior Walter, a pivotal gay male character in a London production of Angels In America. He said he prepared for the role by watching RuPaul’s Drag Race. Not-gay-Garfield responded to criticism about him portraying a gay man by revealing he considers himself a “gay man right now, just without the physical act.”
Mattis delays Transgender recruits
U.S. Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, who is a confirmed bachelor, approved a delay in allowing transgender recruits to join the U.S. Armed Forces until Jan. 1, 2018. The ban on openly transgender people serving in the U.S. military ended in 2016. It was expected to start allowing transgender people to enlist this year, provided they had been “stable” in their preferred gender for 18 months.
A Rand Corporation estimated there may be as many as 7,000 transgender people in active duty forces and 4,000 reserves. Their status is not affected by the recruitment pause.
HRC launches $26 million effort for 2018 elections
The Human Rights Campaign is launching a $26 million political organizing effort ahead of 2018 midterm elections. The group is focusing its resources on several key states with competitive Senate races: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada.
HRC president Chad Griffin said the effort will include hiring at least 20 additional political staffers. He said the group will focus on fighting legislation curbing gay rights and backing “pro-equality candidates and initiatives.”
Nyet! to Nureyev Ballet
Russia‘s Bolshoi Theater canceled a much-anticipated ballet about dancer Rudolf Nureyev three days before the opening night. Nureyev defected from the Soviet Union to the West in 1961.
Bolshoi officials denied reports that the show had been scrapped because of its portrayal of Nureyev’s gay relationships, but that the ballet wasn’t ready and it will instead premiere next year. Suresky.
Video game another blow to gay culture
A new video game, The Tearoom (https://radiatoryang.itch.io/the-tearoom), is described as “a (free) historical public bathroom simulator about anxiety, police surveillance, and sucking off another dude’s gun.”
A player’s goal is to engage in sexual acts with other men, but before that, the player must wait for someone to enter, and then engage in a ritual that involves repeated periods of prolonged eye contact, all the while looking out for the police.
The developer, Robert Yang, encountered some push back from what he calls, “The oppressive conservative gamer-surveillance complex.” His solution, “I have swapped out any pesky penises in my game for the only thing that the game industry will never moderate nor ban — guns. Now, there’s nothing wrong with guys appreciating other guys’ guns, right?” asks Yang.