Dr Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, has been tipped for a high-ranking position in the Joe Biden administration.
Levine is one of the highest-ranking transgender officials in the US, and has spent this year leading Pennsylvania’s response to the pandemic in the face of shameless transphobia.
Her hard work and decades of medical experience could soon be rewarded, with her name now attached to two key White House roles.
The LGBTQ Victory Fund, a political action committee (PAC) that helped elect hundreds of queer politicians in the 2020 election, has suggested Biden should appoint Levine either secretary of health and human services or US surgeon general.
Ruben Gonzalez, vice president of the PAC, said the organisation has already had “informal conversations” with the Biden transition team regarding LGBT+ appointments, and is “feeling very confident and very hopeful that we will see trans people serve in high-level roles in this administration”.
“Dr Rachel Levine has served Pennsylvania incredibly well as their secretary of health for a number of years, leading their response on COVID, and leading their response on the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania,” Gonzalez said, via the American Independent.
“I think someone like her is well-poised to serve at a high-level in a Biden administration.”
The LGBQT Victory Fund has made a number of other suggestions, includingPete Buttigieg for UN ambassador; Maura Healey, the first openly gay state attorney general, for US attorney general; Tammy Baldwin, the first out lesbian in Congress, for the Department of Health and Human Services; and Raphael Bostic, the first out gay man and first Black man to lead a regional bank for the Federal Reserve, as secretary of the treasury.
With more than 4,100 roles available in the incoming administration, the LGBTQ Victory Fund says that there should be at least 185 queer appointees in order for the new White House to be properly representative.
As Joe Biden prepares to take office in January, he has already begun naming staff to his presidential transition team.
Among them is Shawn Skelly, who was the first transgender veteran to get a presidential appointment when Barack Obama named her director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the Department of Transportation.
The former Navy commander will help Biden evaluate the Department of Defense, understanding how it operates and helping ensure a smooth transfer of power.
Karine Jean-Pierre could become the first out lesbian and first Black woman to be named White House press secretary.
The political heavyweight served as Kamala Harris’ chief of staff during the Biden-Harris campaign, and has now been tipped for a permanent role in the new administration.
NBC’s White House correspondent Geoff Bennett tweeted Wednesday (18 November) that Jean-Pierre has “emerged as a top candidate” for press secretary, citing multiple sources.
Symone Sanders, TV pundit and a senior advisor to the campaign “has also been discussed” for the role, he added.
“No final decisions have been made, officials stress, as the emerging West Wing leadership also considers how to structure the communications office in a rapidly-changing media environment,” Bennett added.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PinkNews&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1329069612911239171&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinknews.co.uk%2F2020%2F11%2F19%2Fpolitical-trailblazer-karine-jean-pierre-tipped-to-be-first-ever-black-and-lgbt-white-house-press-secretary%2F&siteScreenName=PinkNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=500px
Were Karine Jean-Pierre to clinch the role, she would be the first Black woman in the role as well as the first out LGBT+ press secretary.
Many will recognise her from a viral video in which she jumped to protect Harris after an animal rights activist attempted to grab her microphone during a campaign event in 2019.
A seasoned campaigner, activist and strategist, she has previously worked on presidential campaigns for John Edwards, Martin O’Malley and Barack Obama.
She also served on Obama’s White House staff as a regional political director, and was hired to Harris’ team in August, becoming the first Black person to serve as a presidential candidate’s chief of staff.
She is well-known as a political pundit thanks to numerous appearances on NBC News and MSNBC, and has long been a vocal advocate for LGBT+ rights and equality.
Karine Jean-Pierre fought Trump for the sake of her daughter.
In 2011 she spoke about her experiences working in politics as an openly gay woman.
Shortly after she left her position in the Obama administration, she told The Advocate: “What’s been wonderful is that I was not the only; I was one of many.
With the current administration winding down — despite continued bluster and refusal to concede from President Trump — LGBTQ hopefuls shut out from the U.S. government for four years are eager to reemerge amid high hopes for change when President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
The process of finding those appointees is underway. Last week, the Biden team sent out interest surveys to LGBTQ people who are looking to join the Biden administration and signed up with the Presidential Appointments Project, an initiative spearheaded by the LGBTQ Victory Institute to get LGBTQ people into the federal government.
Ruben Gonzales, vice president of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, affirmed in an interview with the Washington Blade on Tuesday the Biden team sent emails to potential LGBTQ applicants.
“Victory has received over 600 resumes from LGBTQ people from across the country who are interested in serving at all levels of government,” Gonzales added. “We’ve shared a number of resumes that we are really excited about. And we know that a lot of those folks have heard back from the administration and have been asked to submit information. So really excited that they’ve been recognized as folks that can play a role in the administration.”
The Biden team will have to make a lot of appointments from the LGBTQ community if it wants to catch up to President Obama, who made a record number of more than 250 LGBTQ appointees over his eight years in the White House, according to the LGBTQ Victory Institute.
But the Victory Institute has specific requests in mind for Biden: the nomination of the first Senate-confirmed openly LGBTQ Cabinet member; the nomination an openly LGBTQ U.S. Supreme Court justice for the first time; and appoint openly lesbian ambassadors, LGBTQ ambassadors of color, and transgender ambassadors for the first time.
Gonzales said he’s hoping at least one part of those requests pertaining to LGBTQ ambassadors in the Biden administration would “happen in the first quarter of 2021” after the Cabinet officials are named.
Will Biden make it happen? The comprehensive LGBTQ plan he issued during his campaign signaled his intent to appoint LGBTQ people to the U.S. government, as does guidance from the Biden transition team on building an administration that looks like America.
One LGBTQ appointment in particular was named just this week: On Tuesday, the Biden team announced Anthony Bernal, who’s gay and served as deputy campaign manager and chief of staff to Jill Biden, would join the East Wing as senior adviser to the first lady.
An adviser to the Biden family for more than decade, Bernal was chief of staff in the Office of Dr. Biden from 2017 to 2019 and served in the Obama administration in multiple roles, including as director of scheduling and trip director for Dr. Biden, and as special assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff to Dr. Biden, according to his bio.
Gonzales said Bernal is the first LGBTQ person named as a Biden appointment and said he’d be a welcome addition to the next administration.
“We feel really good that there’s an LGBTQ person who’s been active in the community already a part of that list, and we think it’s going to continue to make history,” Gonzales said.
A number of LGBTQ appointees have also been named to the Biden landing teams to review policy at specific federal agencies, including former U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Chai Feldblum; Jeff Marootian, director of the D.C. Department of Transportation; and Shawn Skelly, a transgender veteran who’s also an alumnus from the Obama administration.
Feldblum, who as an EEOC commissioner successfully pushed the agency to begin taking up cases of anti-LGBTQ employment discrimination as a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, comes to the role after the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton.
LGBTQ advocates are pushing for the Biden administration to implement that ruling, which reached the same conclusion anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, across federal agencies in implementation of all laws against sex discrimination, including laws in housing, credit, health care and education.
Skelly, who during the Obama administration was special assistant to the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics and coordinator of the Department of Defense Warfighter Senior Integration Group, comes to the position amid expectations Biden will undo Trump’s transgender military ban expeditiously.
But let’s face it: The big question is what job the Biden team will offer Pete Buttigieg. After making history as a gay candidate in the Democratic presidential primary, Buttigieg made an early exit and endorsed Biden, putting himself in a good spot for a high-level appointment. The media outlet Axios reported after the election Buttigieg was “near-certain” to win a Cabinet role in the Biden administration.
Talk has ensued in Washington circles that Buttigieg could get the nod as chief for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which would build off his experience as an Afghanistan war veteran. The nomination would also set him up to become the first Senate-confirmed openly LGBTQ Cabinet member in U.S. history.
Buttigieg, however, has also reportedly been in contention for the role of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, which would give the multilingual former presidential hopeful a boost to his foreign policy credentials in a future second attempt to win the White House.
Despite his ambitions for the role, Buttigieg lacks the foreign policy background that would normally be found in that high-level appointment. According to Politico, another potential pick as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is Wendy Sherman, who helped lead nuclear negotiations with Iran and served as the State Department’s under secretary for political affairs during the Obama administration
Gonzales said whether Buttigieg gets an appointment as secretary of Veterans Affairs or U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, he would “expect that he will have a prominent role” based on the former South Bend mayor’s work for the Biden team.
“We think very highly of Mayor Buttigieg and his experience,” Gonzales said. “I think he’d be well suited for either of those roles. I think he has served with President-elect Biden’s campaign very well as a spokesperson, really representing [not just] himself but our community very well throughout his campaign and throughout the campaign for president. So I think he’s well positioned.”
But as more Americans are growing impatient with Trump for refusing to concede the election — which is holding up the transition process allowing Biden to have access to federal health data to begin implementation of his coronavirus plan — the same holds true for potential appointees.
Asked about any meetings or talks with the transition team about LGBTQ appointments, Gonzales said that team “isn’t officially working” because the General Services Administration hasn’t been able to sign off on it.
“We’re very heartened by the number of LGBTQ people who were named to landing teams for specific agencies,” Gonzales said. “We’re also excited by the number of LGBTQ people who are working on the transition. But there has not been a federal meeting, because there’s not a formal sort of transition team.”
Asked if Trump refusing to back down has delayed the presidential appointment process, Gonzales said “it seems like it is” because Trump’s intransigence has “delayed everything.”
“That concession by the president, and the move by [General Services Administration] just kind of triggers a lot of functions to start happening,” Gonzales said. “And so, I think everyone’s waiting for that to happen. They’re doing as much as they can, obviously prioritizing a lot of positions already, but haven’t been able to sort of really dig into some of the agency pieces.”
The GSA didn’t respond Wednesday to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on when Emily Murphy, head of the agency, would begin to certify the election to allow the transition to move forward.
Does the Victory Institute want Trump to concede? Gonzales gave a veiled signal that was the case.
“We think that there’s a lot of work to be done on the transition, and the sooner that we can all get to work, the better for our country,” Gonzales said.
Despite the anti-LGBTQ record Trump built over his tenure, defenders will point out he had significant gay appointments, most prominently Richard Grenell, who before becoming the face of LGBTQ outreach for the 2020 Trump campaign was acting director of national intelligence, making him the first openly gay Cabinet member, though he was not Senate confirmed.
Grenell, also former U.S. ambassador to Germany, was one of at least five openly gay ambassadors nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate during his administration. Trump named Circuit Judge Patrick Bumatay to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, making him the highest-ranking openly gay federal judge.
Other notable appointments were R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs; John Ring, chair of the National Labor Relations Board; and Tyler Goodspeed, acting chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere touted the LGBTQ appointments under the Trump administration in response to a request for comment from the Washington Blade.
“President Trump has hired and promoted LGBT Americans to the highest levels of government, including positions at the White House, agencies, judgeships, ambassadorships and appointed the first openly gay Cabinet member in our history,” Deere said. “While an individual’s sexual identity is not a qualification, the president’s appointments of LGBT people are significant and historic.”
Gonzales didn’t dispute the importance of those LGBTQ appointments, but said the Presidential Appointments Project “had a drastic reduction” in the number of LGBTQ hopefuls who wanted a position in the U.S. government with Trump in the White House.
Although Gonzales said most LGBTQ appointees “support full equality for LGBTQ people and therefore are best informed and best positioned to advance equality for our community,” he made an exception for Grenell, who has publicly criticized the LGBTQ Victory Fund for not helping Republican LGBTQ candidates.
“Ric Grenell excludes trans people from his vision of equality and cheerleads Trump’s record on LGBTQ rights despite an administration-wide effort to erode protections for our community and especially trans people,” Gonzales said. “Not much to celebrate, unfortunately.”
Grenell didn’t respond Wednesday to a request to respond to Gonzales for this article or weigh in on LGBTQ appointees in federal government.
Beginning November 20, SDFF will present the final two films in its 2020 festival, Docs Make House Calls, and its collaboration with “Who Are You?”, a SebArts online exhibition that reflects on identity and community—how we understand our identity within our communities and how our communities are defined. Butterfly is also co-presented with OutWatch, Wine Country’s LGBTQI film festival. This film program ends on Nov. 29 and costs $12.
We encourage donations beyond your ticket cost. Consider matching what you might have spent on that medium popcorn plus Milk Duds or Raisinets. Thank you for joining us online for our SDFF 2020 virtual program Docs Make House Calls. These two documentaries are the end of a year full of surprises and challenges. But thanks to our filmmakers and the SDFF community we made it through. Stay connected through our website for documentary news and events. Behind the scenes SDFF 2021, April 22 – 25, is already taking shape.
“I first met Shilpa when she was a 9-year-old girl hawking clothes and cheap jewelry on a hippie-lovers’ beach in Goa, India. She was cracking jokes, bursting into spontaneous song, and clearly possessed a personality much larger than her tiny frame. I turned the camera on her and learned she’d been working on the beach since she was five. I learned she belonged to a community of modern-day gypsies and was the primary breadwinner for her family. I learned that her dream in life was to go to school… And I was hooked.” -Christopher McDonell, Director of Queen of The Beach QUEEN OF THE BEACHDirector: Christopher McDonell (Cleetche), 2019, Canada, India, UK, TRT: 106 min Language: English Subtitles: YesSocials: @cleetche, @californiapicsincA Canadian filmmaker befriends a 9-year-old girl and returns 3 times over the next 7 years to capture her story and help her achieve her childhood dream of going to school. Synopsis: “Come look my shop! Very cheap, okay!” While on vacation in Goa, India, Canadian filmmaker Chris McDonell turns his camera on Shilpa Poojar, a funny, charming and skilled beyond her years she is a migrant worker from the unique Banjara people. Forging a connection in this chance encounter, Chris helps Shilpa achieve her childhood dream of going to school – a relentless effort that will test them both along the way. From child-labourer to teenage-entrepreneur to one of the “lucky” ones who learned how to read and write (in a culture that favours boys over girls), Shilpa is now an inspiration to many and has been lovingly nicknamed: “Queen of the Beach”.
BUTTERFLYDirectors: Alessandro Cassigoli + Casey Kauffman, 2018, Italy, TRT: 78 min Language: Italian, Subtitles: Yes Socials: Facebook: @butterflyfilm, Twitter: @infoindycaIn partnership withOutWatch, Wine Country’s LGBTQI film festival Filmed over 3 years, Butterfly follows the developing story of a teenaged, Italian boxer, Irma, trying to find her path in life. Synopsis: Butterfly is the delicate story of an Italian teenager who sees her life plan collapse in eight minutes. Raised in one of Naples’ most troubled neighborhoods, Irma focuses on boxing and reaches the Olympics at just 18 years old. Her dramatic defeat there shakes the core of her identity while family tensions, economic strain, and unrealistic dreams complicate her return home. She struggles to reconnect until a new opportunity forces her to decide who she really is. This is a real-life story, but its irresistible protagonist and cinematic storytelling style allow Butterfly to be experienced like a fiction film. Watch Trailer l Film Website l Buy Tickets
During holiday season, you may be wondering if it is safe to gather and celebrate with loved ones. Here are guidelines for protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.
The safest gathering is one that is a small, stable group that meets outdoors for a short duration and uses face coverings, distance and other safety measures.
Any activity outside of your household increases chances of exposure to the virus. Be selective and space out which public activities you choose. If gathering with your small, stable group is most important, consider forgoing or delaying other activities such as a haircut or indoor dining to reduce your overall exposures and protect your group.
If anyone in your household develops COVID-19 symptoms after attending a gathering:
Get tested for COVID-19
Notify the other attendees as soon as possible regarding the potential exposure
Stay home as much as possible for 14 days after the gathering or until household member tests negative
Avoid being around people who have higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
If you gather in person, keep it safe, small, short, and stable
Outside is Safer: Gather outside and follow safety guidelines
The risk of COVID-19 transmission is highest in indoor spaces without enough ventilation. That’s why gathering inside is not allowed, except as permitted under the state’s health order. Outdoor spaces that are covered are okay, as long as 75% of the space is open to the outdoors. People may go inside to use restrooms, as long as restrooms are sanitized often and attendees only go one at a time.
Small: Limit gatherings to no more than 3 households
When people from different households are together at the same time in the same space, the risk of spreading COVID-19 goes up. That is why gatherings of more than 12 individuals and more than 3 different households are not allowed.
Short: Limit gatherings to no more than 2 hours
The longer people gather together, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spreading. That’s why gathering for longer than 2 hours is not allowed, under the state’s health order.
Stable: Do not participate in multiple gatherings with many different households
The more people come into contact with others outside their household, the higher the risk of spreading COVID-19. That’s why participating in multiple gatherings with different households is strongly discouraged. If you attend several gatherings over the holidays, keep it to the same group of people.
Considerations before hosting or attending:
Are there many or increasing cases of COVID-19 in areas where attendees live?
Have all attendees been taking precautions against COVID-19?
Will all attendees wear face coverings and keep physical distance at the gathering?
Do not attend if:
Anyone in your household has COVID-19-like symptoms
You are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to age or medical conditions
Hosts should let guests know safety guidelines must be followed before the event so everyone is aware.
Maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from people not in your household at all times, whether you’re sitting or standing. More distance is safer.
Wear face coverings at all times, including when talking to others. You can remove face covering briefly to eat, drink, or take medication as long as you stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside your own household. More distance is safer.
Remain outside as much as possible. If you go inside, open windows and doors to increase ventilation.
Wash hands with soap and water often. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
Serve shared food safely. If it is not possible to use single-serve disposable containers, food and beverages must be served by a person who washes or sanitizes their hands frequently and wears a face covering. If you are dropping off home-prepared food or drink gifts, be sure to wear a mask and disinfect or wash your hands thoroughly.
Avoid singing, chanting, and shouting. If you cannot avoid these activities, keep your face covering on, your volume low, and at least a 6-foot distance from others. More distance and being outdoors are safer.
Avoid travel during the holidays
COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in many parts of the country. Nonessential travel, including holiday travel, is not recommended. Traveling outside the Bay Area will increase your chance of getting infected and spreading the virus to others after your return. Additional precautions should also be taken when hosting and interacting with people traveling to the Bay Area, especially from other areas with widespread COVID-19.
If you travel outside the Bay Area, it is strongly recommended that you self-quarantine for 14 days after your return if your activities while travelling put you at higher risk of getting COVID-19. These higher risk activities include:
Spending time within 6 feet of people you do not normally live with, while you or anyone around you was not wearing a face mask – especially if you were indoors.
Traveling on planes, buses, trains, public transportation, or other shared vehicles, if face masks were not worn at all times by both you and the other people in the vehicle.
Do NOT travel if you are sick. You could spread COVID-19 or another infection
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested and wait for a negative test result before you start your trip. Even if you test negative for COVID-19, you should not travel if you’re feeling ill as you may spread another infection.
If you must travel, take steps to reduce risk
Wear a face covering
Keep at least 6 feet of physical distance from others (more distance is safer)
Ventilate your space, if possible (for example, open the bus or taxi window)
Wash or sanitize your hands often
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
Avoid contact with anyone who is sick
Avoid contact with frequently touched surfaces
Get tested before and after you travel
Get a flu shot
Most viruses do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, it is likely that you will be sitting within 6 feet of others for long periods of time, which can increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Air travel also requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Finally, during the holidays, planes and airports may be significantly more crowded than usual, which also increases risk of transmission.
Don’t share vehicles with people you don’t live with. Vehicles are small enclosed spaces where COVID-19 can spread easily between people. If you must share a vehicle, try to ride with the same people each time, make sure everyone wears a face covering and open the windows to maximize outdoor air circulation as much as you can.
Are you, your travel companions, or those you are visiting at higher risk for serious illness?
Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are more likely to get really sick if they get COVID-19. The virus can be spread among people who are not feeling any symptoms.
Will you be able to social distance from others during your trip?
It is hard to maintain 6 feet of space from others when using public transportation like airplanes, buses, trains, and taxis. Even when traveling in your own vehicle, you may find yourself in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces while making stops along the way.
Can you watch for symptoms and get tested?
In the event that you must travel, it’s important to monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days after your return and get tested immediately if you have any symptoms. Even if you don’t develop symptoms, consider getting tested around 3-7 days after your return, particularly if returning from an area with more COVID-19 transmission than we have in the Bay Area, or if you engaged in activities that put you at risk for getting COVID-19. If you do any activity where you might have been exposed to COVID-19, including travel, reduce your contact with other people as much as possible for 14 days, keep your distance from others, and make extra sure that you always wear a face covering anytime you’re outside your household.
While the society’s archives remain closed in compliance with city and state health regulations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have been busy adding digital content for researchers at home and are thrilled to provide you with a roadmap to these resources. We have overhauled the archives area on the website to make it easier to find the content you’re looking for. On the website, click on “Online Resources” under the “Archives” tab, and you’ll find a new launch page for all of our digital materials featuring four colored boxes that link to the four following sections: Digital Collections, accessed through the pink box (top left),are selections from our physical archival collections, scanned and photographed. We’ve vastly expanded this page in the last six months. Recent additions include ACT UP oral histories; videos of performers at the Valencia Rose cabaret in the 1980s; the Posters and Art and Artifacts collections; Jean-Baptiste Carhaix’s evocative photographs of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence; Hal O’Neal’s home videos of gay men socializing as far back as the 1940s; and collections about lesbian poet Elsa Gidlow, Japanese American World War II incarceration-camp survivor Jiro Onuma, and the famed “Maestrapeace” mural on the Women’s Building in San Francisco. Exhibitions, accessed through the yellow box (top right), takes you to our online exhibitions, curated and built since March by our museum staff. You can view exhibitions that were previously on display at the museum on Roz Joseph’s drag photographs, Angela Davis, Gilbert Baker and more. And some of the exhibitions, such as AIDS Treatment Activism, are “born-digital” shows that are exclusively available online. Primary Source Sets, linked from the orange box (bottom left), are a new resource we’ve introduced this year. These are curated sets of images, articles and recordings on specific topics, ranging from drag to the Gay Games, to gays and lesbians in the military, to queer feminism and trans men and women. They’re great jumping-off points for research, and are intended to be especially helpful to students, educators and novice researchers. Research Guides are available through the blue box (bottom right). They’re textual roadmaps of the archives, also themed around specific topics, and intended for researchers who are planning to dig deeper and ultimately consult the physical archives. They list relevant collections, oral histories and periodicals. Also available here are our presentations about research and collection donation, as well as information about local LGBTQ historic places, links to other LGBTQ archives and more. We hope you’ll explore our online resources. And if you have any suggestions for topics you might like to see covered or any questions, email us at email@example.com. We’re here to help you!
Kelsi Evans is director of the Dr. John P. De Cecco Archives & Special Collections at the GLBT Historical Society. Isaac Fellman is the reference archivist at the GLBT Historical Society.
Almost half (46 per cent) of LGBT+ school students in England do not feel safe to be themselves at school, a study has revealed.
LGBT+ education charity Diversity Role Models released its “Pathways to LGBT+ Inclusion” report Wednesday (18 November), which quizzed 6,136 students and 5,733 adults from 90 schools, which were all “at the start” of their journey towards LGBT+ inclusion.
It found that across the board, 46 per cent of LGBT+ students would not feel safe coming out at school. Of secondary school students, this figure jumped to almost three quarters (73 per cent).
In a foreword for the report, presenter Clare Balding said: “Just let that sink in. The place you are relying upon to prepare you for the world, the place where you are supposed to get an all-round education is not currently a safe space if you are LGBT+.”
The report also highlighted a huge disparity between the experiences of LGBT+ students and what the teachers responsible for their care were willing to admit.
While 42 per cent of year five and six primary school students and 54 per cent of secondary school students said that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language was common at their school, just 26 per cent of teachers admitted this was the case.
When this language did come up, just 67 per cent of primary school teachers and 78 per cent of secondary school teachers said they challenged it.
But, according to students, the situation is even worse. Less than a third (32 per cent) of secondary school kids said that staff challenged anti-LGBT+ language.
Balding added: “The report has discovered that parents, staff and governors tend to underestimate the occurrence of bullying compared to the pupils themselves.
“This is crucial because what adults may think and how adults may react to language will naturally be more considered and resilient. We grow stronger as we grow older but children don’t have those layers of protective experience.
“They respond and react as if stung or burnt and it’s why it is so important that we take these findings seriously and we, as adults, react quickly to protect the most vulnerable.”
Researchers spoke to “selective and non-selective schools, independent, faith schools and non-denominational schools, local-authority-maintained schools, academies, free schools and mixed- and single-gender schools” in London, the West Midlands and the South East of England, to compile the report.
Discrimination and bullying at school can have tragic consequences for LGBT+ youth, who are already at greater risk for mental health problems.
LGBTQ candidates once again made history in terms of the overall number elected to Congress and state legislatures across the country. However, many of them had to contend with homophobic and transphobic attack ads this election cycle.
“There is little doubt that millions of dollars in homophobic and transphobic attacks ads devastated our candidates in key swing districts during the final weeks of their campaigns,” said Annise Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which trains and advocates for queer candidates at all levels of government. “Bigoted politicians and operatives who thrive in the politics of hate were able to peel away support from voters who don’t yet know our community.”
Bigoted ads did not spell defeat for all LGBTQ candidates they targeted, but even the candidates who overcame the attacks did have to invest resources to respond to them.
Impacts ‘hard to quantify’
When it comes to homophobic and transphobic political attacks, “it is hard to quantify the effects,” according to Gabriele Magni, an assistant professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
“When you have an incumbent president who is such a polarizing figure, it becomes harder to disentangle what is the effect the homophobic attack ad and what is the effect of having Donald Trump on the ballot,” he said.
He also explained that “voter suppression efforts that target constituents that are generally most supportive of Democratic candidates,” also hurt LGBTQ candidates, as the lion’s share of them run as Democrats (at least 90 percent, according to LGBTQ Victory Fund’s estimate).
Whether a candidate won or lost may not be indicative of the impact of the bigoted attacks either, as Magni said the bar tends to be higher for LGBTQ candidates who make it to the general election, so “the exceptional quality of some of these candidates allowed them to overcome the negative effects of some of these attacks.”
Nonincumbents and purple districts
Homophobic and transphobic attacks produced mixed impacts on congressional races, with nonincumbents and those in purple districts most likely to suffer defeat.
In New Hampshire, Democrat Chris Pappas — who in 2018 became the first openly gay man to represent the state in Congress — was able to stave off what supporters called homophobic challenges to his integrity to win re-election against Republican challenger Matt Mowers.
During a debate Oct, 21, Mowers brought up Pappas’ alleged relationship with a lobbyist and accused the candidate of impropriety. Pappas denied the claim, and in a statement after the debate, he said Mowers’ behavior was “despicable” and that he had “crossed a line.”
Mowers’ campaign manager, John Corbett, called the homophobia claims “untruthful accusations” designed to divert public attention from policy issues and obscure Pappas’ relationship with the lobbyist.
“Matt Mowers learned the hard way that his desperate homophobic dog whistle attacks cost him votes amongst Republicans and independent voters in the closing days of the campaign,” Lucas Meyer, campaign manager for Pappas, said in an email to NBC News after his election victory. “Granite Staters saw right through his baseless attacks and rejected his blatant bigotry that he made the focus of his closing message.”
While Pappas was in a purple district, which President Donald Trump carried in 2016, he had the advantage of incumbency this year. “Homophobic attacks are less effective against well-known candidates, because voters already know them,” Magni said.
Nonincumbent congressional hopefuls in purple districts had a tougher time trying to flip red to blue districts.
Two races for which LGBTQ advocates and Democrats had high hopes — Gina Ortiz Jones and John Hoadley — did not pan out.
Hoadley lost against incumbent Republican Rep. Fred Upton, who voted against the Equality Act last year and for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2004 and 2006.
Former U.S. Air Force Capt. Jones lost to Republican Tony Gonzales, a Navy veteran, failing to flip Texas’ 23rd Congressional District for Democrats.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) spent millions of dollars on attack ads against both of these candidates.
“If you are running for congress as a nonincumbent,” Magni said, “not so many people know who they are.” This means that voters may “rely more heavily on stereotypes or homophobic tropes,” especially in the context of Covid-19 in which personal contact is even more limited.
By contrast, derogatory comments directed at Rep.-elect Ritchie Torres did not harm his chances of becoming the first Afro-Latinx LGBTQ person elected to Congress. He easily won the general election for his congressional seat against his Republican opponent in one of the most progressive districts in the country. Magni said the attacks are “less consequential” in heavily Democratic districts like New York’s 15th.
Magni explained that the diverse candidate pool, with many women, people of color and transgender candidates are “especially vulnerable targets” for anti-LGBTQ messaging.
Jenna Wadsworth, an outspoken progressive, lost her bid for North Carolina’s agriculture commissioner. In October, Wadsworth became the target of online vitriol after she posted a video asking viewers if Donald Trump’s diagnosis with Covid-19 was their “favorite or most favorite October surprise.”
Wadsworth, who described animosity toward her prior to the video as “minimal,” quickly became inundated with thousands of messages on social media.
Many of the hateful messages, however, were not about Wadsworth’s controversial remarks about Trump’s health — they were about her being unfit for office because of her sexual orientation, gender identity and sex.
“That does a lot to you emotionally, psychologically. It’s very draining,” she said.
Some of the messages made Wadsworth fear for her physical safety. “I received gang rape threats after that video,” Wadsworth said. “Until election night, I was not able to stay in my own home for three weeks.”
Magni described North Carolina as a “deeply divided state when it comes to LGBTQ attitudes” and added that part of the electorate “is receptive to these kinds of attacks.”
Wadsworth, who at 31 would have been the youngest LGBTQ statewide elected official in the country’s history, lost the race and said she believes her campaign suffered due to the bigoted attacks. She said she has not decided what is next for her politically.
Several candidates experienced an unexpected boost in support and financing as a result of homophobic and transphobic attacks.
Shevrin Jones easily won his race for Florida Legislature last Tuesday to become Florida’s first LGBTQ state senator.
In August, a blood bank rejected Jones when he sought to donate plasma after recovering from Covid-19 because he is in a same-sex relationship. A robotext, whose sponsor remains unknown, was sent to voters saying Jones was “discriminated against for recent homosexual contact,” and linked to ShevJones.com, which is not Jones’ website and does not appear to ever have had any information on it. Jones was also the subject of a homophobic flyer with a photo of himself and his partner on vacation and asked, “Is this who you want for your next state senator?”
The attacks did not stop Jones, and paradoxically may have helped in terms of support and funding.
“We raised over $1 million,” Jones said. “When those attacks were coming people just gave more.”
Brianna Titone, who won her bid for re-election to the Colorado Statehouse, experienced several transphobic attack ads.
The group Take Back Colorado released a Facebook ad this month that misgendered Titone and referred to her by her “deadname,” the name she used before her transition. The ad also claimed Titone has “always supported violence” and sexualizes children. Then Republican state Rep. Stephen Humphrey voiced a robocall paid for by the Colorado Family Values Victory Fund attacking Titone’s gender identity.
Magni said transgender candidates may be more likely to become the target of attacks because “public support for trans rights is still lower” than for lesbian and gay rights.
Titone triumphed over the attacks, which led to increases in volunteer support and campaign contributions. “The attacks I had to endure didn’t create any obstacles for me that I didn’t already have,” she told NBC News. “If anything, it helped me with raising money and it convinced some people to support me based on the ads.”
She also feels that her attackers were emboldened by the Trump administration that has “given permission to be rude.”
“I’m curious to see how my new colleagues will treat me. Will they be towing the line of those messages, or will they realize that that is not productive and move away?,” she said.
Omar Leos, who won his race for North East School District board in San Antonio, had a similar experience.
“I think it helped energize the campaign. It mobilized more people to come out to volunteer and it definitely helped me financially too,” Leos told NBC News.
“In my personal opinion, it backfired on them,” Leos said.
Texas Family Action, a political action committee affiliated with the conservative San Antonio Family Association, sent a mailer to voters in Leos’ district describing him as being “‘married’ to same-sex man” and noting he has “no children” in the school district. In contrast, the mailer described Leos’ opponent, Ione McGinty, as a “wife and mother of 6.”
While Leos still won, Magni said that such attacks can “force the campaign to redirect the resources and shift media focus,” he said. “The campaign has to respond.”
Leos did say the homophobic attacks prompted him to shift his campaign message to highlight the unwillingness of his opponent to be an advocate for LGBTQ students.
“Before on my signs was ‘Keep Omar Leos,’” he said. After the homophobic attacks he shifted his message to “A voice for all.”
“I’m a voice for all students, for all people,” Leos said.
There is no reason to believe LGBTQ candidates have seen the last of homophobic and transphobic attacks, but Magni said a swift response by candidates and their allies is important to prevent their opponents from defining the narrative of the campaign.
LGBTQ candidates also need to remember that they are targets because they are strong candidates who have the potential to win, Magni added.
“That should encourage them to soldier on and to keep in mind the ultimate goal — that is, that they are running to serve their constituents.”
Bias attacks based on gender identity rose significantly in 2019, according to a new FBI report on hate crimes.
Released this week, the annual Uniform Crime Report indicates that, last year, 227 hate-crime incidents were motivated by gender-identity bias. That’s up 20 percent from 2018, when 189 such incidents were reported.
Drilling into the data, there were 175 victims of anti-transgender bias and 52 victims of anti-gender-nonconforming bias reported last year, compared to 160 victims of anti-trans bias and 29 victims of anti-gender-nonconforming bias the year prior.
Civil rights advocates have long criticized the report for failing to represent the full number of hate crimes in the United States, since reporting isn’t mandatory. Last year, only 2,172 law enforcement agencies out of about 15,000, or less than 15 percent, reported hate crime data, the FBI said.
Since 2018, the number of agencies submitting hate crime statistics actually decreased by 451.
More than 70 cities with populations over 100,000 either failed to report data or affirmatively reported zero hate crimes. The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ civil rights group, said cities of that size not having a single hate crime all year “is clearly not credible.”
“The lack of mandatory reporting means that the FBI data, while helpful, paints an incomplete picture of hate crimes against the LGBTQ and other communities,” the organization said in a statement.https://dataviz.nbcnews.com/projects/20200714-trans-homicide-annual-barchart/index.html?initialWidth=560&childId=embed-20200128-coronavirus-us-count&parentTitle=Anti-transgender%20hate%20crimes%20soared%2020%20percent%20in%202019&=
In 2019, at least 27 transgender or gender-nonconforming persons died by violence, according to the group. Again, the real number is likely higher, as not all deaths are accurately reported, nor are all victims accurately identified.
In 2020, that figure has risen to 36, the most since the group began tracking these deaths in 2013, with more than a month left in the year.
“This year, we saw a tragic new record of fatal violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming people in this country, particularly against Black and Brown transgender women,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement. “These alarming statistics represent real trauma for individuals and families across this country who have to bear the brunt of these hate crimes.”
In a statement released prior to the election, Biden vowed to “put forward comprehensive solutions to help empower the transgender and gender-nonconforming community and prioritize the prosecution of anti-transgender violence.”
The FBI’s annual report defines hate crimes as those motivated by bias based on a person’s race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, among other categories.
In all, the bureau received 7,314 reports of hate crimes in 2019, up from 7,120 in 2018 and approaching the record 7,783 in 2008.
Reported attacks based on sexual orientation dipped slightly, from 1,445 in 2018 to 1,429 in 2019. They represented 16.8 percent of all hate crimes, the third largest category after race and religion.
Crimes involving religion-based bias rose, with attacks targeting Jewish people and institutions increasing 14 percent and those targeting Muslims increasing 16 percent. For the fourth year in a row, there was also a significant uptick in hate crimes targeting the Latino community, increasing 9 percent from last year.
Hate crimes against Black Americans dropped slightly, from 1,943 to 1,930.
It’s still hard to perceive that even in 2020 public nudity still evokes a torrent of negativity. On one hand there are the juvenile reactions from people who left their teen years decades ago, and on the other hand there is still so much overwhelming out-of-place Victorian censorship . If you show more than a naked ankle on Facebook their narrow minded self-appointed expurgators will banish you and your FB page from public view until you recant.
It’s a regrettable situation that was part of reason why Belgian choreographer THIERRY SMITS developed a dance piece with 11 male nude dancers. Smits claims that this work is depicting a world “overrun by right-wing and neoliberal” ideals, conflating the unabashed nudity with leftism.
So Bare is a film by ALEKSANDR VINOGRADOV that documents the 11th month journey of Smits creating ANIMA ARDENS from the very start to the premiere performance.
The cameras are there for the very intensive couple of days of auditions. Interestingly one of the dancers questions the fact that they are being filmed naked, and he is concerned what will happen with these images especially if he is not cast. It’s a sad indictment of today’s culture where nude images are so often crudely exploited without permission.
Smits ‘ballet” is strictly about male nudity which is unusual in itself and some of the pieces in it are very phallic. Others however switch from the masculine and in one of the most profoundly moving segments, he has the men giving their own concepts of a birthing experience.
The nudity is not intended to be either erotic or provocative but it does show the sheer beauty of the male form. It actually turns out that most of this diverse group men that make up the cast are gay. This may (or may not) have added a level of both personal freedom and more sensitivity on how they perceived their own nudity
Kudos not just to the dancers and their sheer vitality but also to Vinogradov’s camera capturing so many close-ups that he wove into his beautifully edited film
If there is a novelty at seeing 11 naked men on the screen at the start of the film, that completely dissipates by the end. It’s a celebration of masculinity that was a joy to watchhttps://player.vimeo.com/video/405184049