Former Mississippi State Representative Robert Foster, a Republican who had served from January 5, 2016 until January 7, 2020 representing House District 28 in Northwestern Mississippi approximately 23 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee, tweeted out last week that it was his conviction that transgender people and their allies need to be shot dead by firing squad.
The Mississippi Free Press requested an interview with Foster about Thursday’s tweet, but he sent a message declining the invitation.
“I said what I said,” he wrote, adding to what he had tweeted. “The law should be changed so that anyone trying to sexually groom children and/or advocating to put men pretending to be women in locker rooms and bathrooms with young women should receive the death penalty by firing squad.”
The organizers and board of Seattle Pride has cut sponsorship ties with internet retail behemoth Amazon citing more than $450,000 to lawmakers who voted against the Equality Act and a demand by the Seattle-based company for naming rights to the annual LGBTQ+ Pride parade.
Seattle Pride Executive Director Krystal Marx told local media that donations to anti-LGBTQ+ Washington state politicians and the participation of anti-LGBTQ+ organizations in the company’s AmazonSmile program also factored into the decision.
Marx noted that while Amazon offered a $100,000 sponsorship buy in, which was significantly higher than past donations the company has made in previous years, there were strings attached that included a request to call the annual celebration “Seattle Pride Parade Presented by Amazon.” It felt as if Amazon was trying to buy the event and the nonprofit itself, Marx told media outlet The Seattle Times.
“It was important for us to really take a hard look at how do these values align with us,” she said. “This Pride Parade is for our community to celebrate, to remember Stonewall in 1969, to continue the fight for our rights, and we don’t feel it was possible to accept this money.”
Seattle Pride also cited $11,000 in contributions Amazon made to Washington legislators who sponsored anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-transgender bills during the 2022 session, NBC News affiliate KING-TV 5 reported.
“We simply cannot partner with any organization actively harming our community through the support of discriminatory laws and politics,” Seattle Pride said in a statement.
An Amazon spokesperson told KING 5 that the company works with lawmakers on a broad array of topics that impact their business, but that did not mean they agreed with “any individual or political organization 100 percent of the time on every issue.”
“This includes legislation that discriminates or encourages discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community,” a spokesperson said.
The company went on to cite their support for Seattle Pride and LGBTQ+ issues on a national scale.
“Amazon has long supported Seattle Pride because we believe that the rights of LGBTQ+ people must be protected. We stand together with the LGBTQ+ community, were early and strong supporters of marriage equality, and are working at the U.S. federal and state level on legislation, including supporting passage of the Equality Act,” a spokesperson said. “We also work hard to offer an inclusive environment for employees and for five consecutive years we’ve received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index.”
Seattle Pride said organizers are also “deeply concerned” about the company’s AmazonSmile program, which allows customers to donate to charities as they shop. Seattle Pride cited an investigation revealing more than 40 anti-LGBTQ+ organizations were signed up to receive funds through the program.
Amazon said an organization’s participation in the AmazonSmile program does not mean the company endorses their views.
“It’s critical Amazon and other corporate partners of Seattle Pride – and for other Pride events nationally – do not allow their platforms to be used by organizations which are actively working against the rights of LGBTQIA+ people,” Seattle Pride said in their statement.
When evaluating corporate sponsors, Marx says the group started from the top, with the companies that offered the largest donations and stood to benefit the most from exposure and involvement with the parade, she told the Seattle Times.
“Amazon has been a sponsor for the parade on and off since 2009. It has donated roughly $42,000 since then,” Marx said.
“We simply cannot partner with any organization actively harming our community through the support of discriminatory laws and politics. Making the decision to cut Amazon as a sponsor wasn’t an easy one,” Marx said, and it will affect the nonprofit’s finances.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday in a 52-45 vote confirmed U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan’s nomination by President Joe Biden to become a judge on the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Judge Nathan is now the only the second openly LGBTQ+ woman to serve on a federal appellate court. The first is current Second Circuit Judge Beth Robinson from Vermont, who was nominated by President Biden earlier this year and confirmed by the Senate on November 1, 2021.
Biden nominated Judge Nathan this past November, after receiving a recommendation from the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-NY). At the time of the President’s nomination Schumer said in a statement released by his office; “Ali Nathan is an outstanding judge for the Southern District of New York and her experience, legal brilliance, love of the rule of law and perspective would be invaluable in ensuring the federal judiciary fulfills its obligation to ensure equal justice for all.”
udge Alison J. Nathan has served as a United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York since 2011. She previously served as Special Counsel to the Solicitor General of New York from 2010 to 2011.
From 2009 to 2010, Judge Nathan served in the White House Counsel’s Office as an Associate White House Counsel and Special Assistant to the President. Judge Nathan was a Fritz Alexander Fellow at New York University School of Law from 2008 to 2009 and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Fordham University Law School from 2006 to 2008.
From 2002 to 2006, Judge Nathan was an associate at the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP in Washington D.C. and New York. Judge Nathan served as a law clerk for United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens from 2001 to 2002 and for Judge Betty B. Fletcher on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2000 to 2001.
Judge Nathan received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Cornell Law School in 2000, and her B.A. from Cornell University in 1994.
Scottish MP for Glasgow East, John Mason, during a debate Tuesday on legislation to ban the practice of conversion therapy in the Scottish Parliament, compared it to getting therapy assistance for saying no to eating too much chocolate.
Speaking to his fellow parliamentarians Mason said sexual orientations must be accepted “to a large extent” but the argued that for conservative religious communities, being LGBTQ was an issue not dissimilar to “self-control and choosing not to put your thoughts or desires into action.”
Mason also argued that religious groups could be described as being “above and beyond the law of the land,” comparing this to bowling clubs having mandatory dress codes, and added that for those people who are religious, the word “conversion” was “good” because it meant “turning away from something bad like alcohol or drug abuse.”
Anderson, in an interview with the Daily Record this past July, described his experience as “intimate, non-physical abuse from someone who intended to ‘cure’ his homosexuality.” He told the Daily Record, “I lived in a strict religious household, and had grown up being told that being gay was a sin. When I came out, that was the response. I was told it wasn’t an option and given an ultimatum — to be gay, or disowned.
“I was only 14, a child. I was scared, and so for the next five years I repressed my sexuality. l couldn’t explore it or express it. I pretended I was straight, in relationships with girls, and couldn’t tell anyone else I was gay.”
He goes on to relate that his experience as a “more informal, intimate form of violence,” which at times left him feeling suicidal. “I endured gas lighting, bullying, harassment and isolation,” he said.
“It always took the form of a one-on-one discussion, away from the rest of the family, to talk. I was subjected to prayers in that capacity, biblical writing, teaching on a one-on-one environment. I was threatened, told that if I was to practice my homosexuality in any way, family members would die as a result — they’d be killed by God. Other controlling behavior included being denied access to healthcare,” Anderson said.
The National, a Scottish newspaper reported that Ross Greer, Greens MSP for western Scotland, said it was “wrong” to characterize the debate as being a “conflict between LGBTQ people and people of faith.” He added that most religious leaders have supported a ban on the practice.
A source in the SNP told the Washington Blade on Wednesday that Mason was oft times seen as an abomination who has only been able to keep his seat due to his longevity in the party.
“We are at a precious point in the party’s history, there is a regressive wing of the party that has been permanent throughout its recent history and, by virtue of being permanent (and arguably having paid membership fees, campaigned etc), thinks it is entitled to the present,” the source said.
“Ultimately there are more and more of the older generation who are having to reckon with the fact this party is no longer what it once was — socially conservative and anti-Europe/internationalist. Mason is someone who was part of the party when it was like that and hasn’t yet left or died. He and those like him are merely voicing the concerns of the past but increasingly irrelevant,” the source noted.
During the debate on same-sex marriage in Scotland, Mason was widely condemned for raising a motion stating that “while some in society approve of same-sex sexual relationships, others do not agree with them” and that no person or organization should be forced to be involved or to approve of same-sex marriage.
Mason’s history of inflammatory rhetoric includes most recently in June 2018, when Glasgow Live reported he responded to an email from a constituent saying he did not agree with retrospective pardons for gay men convicted of having consensual sex before decriminalization. He wrote, “I do not see that we can go round pardoning and apologizing for everything that other people did that does not conform to modern customs. Will the Italians be apologizing for the Roman occupation?”
In November 2018 he wrote a letter to the Herald newspaper to complain that transgender people “override science.” Then in January of this year Mason referred to trans women as “people whose biological sex is male” and suggested that those convicted of crimes should serve their sentences in male prisons.
Avaz Shikhmammadov-Hafizli, a 24-year-old journalist and LGBTQ activist was found stabbed to death last week near the capital, Baku, according to a spokesperson for the Azerbaijan Attorney General’s Office and Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In a joint statement released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office, Amrulla Gulaliyev, Shikhmammadov-Hafizli’s cousin was arrested for his killing.
“Initial investigation shows that Gulaliyev was drunk when he committed the crime and has admitted to killing his cousin as a result of a dispute,” the statement said.
Neither Gulaliyev nor his attorney has yet issued a comment.
Other LGBTQ Azerbaijani sources are disputing the official narrative saying that Gulaliyev murdered his cousin as a so-called family honor killing.
JAMnews, a media outlet which covers different regions of the Caucasus, noted that the Azerbaijani media not only regularly covers “honor crimes,” but gives voice to those who support this primitive idea of justice.
According to ILGA Europe, an international non-governmental organization advocating for LGBTQ rights and freedoms, Azerbaijan occupies the last place among 49 countries on the organization’s Rainbow Index.
Arzu Geybullayeva, a journalist with Global Voices reported that in September 2021 Hafizli chained himself to a fence outside the Prosecutor General Office to protest the institution’s lack of swift action against blogger Sevinj Huseynova, who openly called for violence against queer citizens in the country. Huseynova also targeted Hafizli after which, according to the journalist’s own accounts, his family disowned him. Hafizli also attempted to die by suicide after being targeted by the blogger.
In recent years, the Azerbaijan government intensified crackdowns against the LGBTQ community. In 2017, at least 83 people were detained by the police for being gay or transgender. The detainees reported being tortured and blackmailed. The same year, at least four Azerbaijani citizens who identified as LGBTQ died by suicide.
In March 2021, Minority Magazine reported a new movement calling itself “Pure Blood” which was mobilizing via Telegram to target LGBTQ people in Azerbaijan.
Then in the summer of 2021, during Pride month, Minority Magazine documented more attacks against LGBTQ people.
For many who face discrimination and violence, there is little recourse through the police or any official judicial channels. For instance, in November of last year, a trans woman and her partner were attacked on the street in Baku. Knowing the police’s poor track record with queer citizens, they decided not to file an official complaint, fearing reprisals and potential privacy violations.
The anti-LGBTQ narrative in Azerbaijan is pervasive among politicians, celebrities, and public figures, according to OC Media research that focused on the extent of homophobic hate speech in the country by analyzing media reports.
According to this research, LGBTQ members also face discrimination in military service. In Azerbaijan those who identify as LGBTQ are exempted from compulsory military service under Article 18, paragraph b of the Regulation on Military Medical Examinations, which states a person is considered unfit or partially fit for military service on the basis of personality disorders and under Article 17/b, which indicates reactive psychoses and neurotic disorders.
Blogger Sevinj Huseynova is not the only one who has made open calls for violence against the LGBTQ community.
According to Minority Magazine, in January 2022, a religious cleric Haji Tayyar Huseynli, described members of LGBTQ community as “filth” and said same-sex couples engaging in intercourse should be sentenced to death.
“That is, according to religious rules, those who commit this heinous act must be killed. This is the demand of religion,” Huseynli told a local news platform in an interview.
According to the statement issued by the Prosecutor General Office, Hafizli was killed by his cousin who was under the influence of alcohol, after the two had an argument. The office said an investigation has been launched.
However, activists in Azerbaijan fear not much will come out of it. Writing on her Facebook page, civic activist, Gulnara Mehdiyeva said, “LGBTQ people are of no importance to Azerbaijani law. They are not considered human beings, and neither the prosecutor’s office, nor the State Security Service, nor any other body wants to move a finger to prevent mass killings. The Azerbaijani government is directly guilty of legitimizing the killing of LGBTQ people at all levels.”
An amendment filed this past Friday to the legislation that would bar discussions and course materials in Florida’s public schools, colloquially referred to as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, (HB 1557), would also require school personnel to inform a parent of their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The author of the amendment, Republican Rep. Joe Harding, (R-Williston), the author and chief sponsor of HB 1557 also wrote and introduced the amendment.
The Republican-controlled Florida House of Representatives is set to pass the controversial measure that has received the backing of Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday. Democrats and advocacy groups have launched a full-scale campaign to derail the bill’s passage.
n an email to the Blade, Nadine Smith, the Executive Director of Equality Florida said: “We wish every home was an accepting one and that every young person was affirmed and celebrated by their families. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case for LGBTQ youth. They already make up 40% of the homeless youth population because they face higher rates of family rejection and abuse simply for being who they are. Knowingly subjecting children to abuse, abandonment, and neglect by forcing them to come out to their parents before they’re ready is cruel, dangerous, and underscores that this bill has no regard for the well-being of Florida’s youth”
Popular Information’s investigative reporter Judd Legum noted on Twitter that the bill’s sponsor, Harding, was retweeting a hardline national conservative group, ‘Mom’s For Liberty’ which is based in Florida, and has been actively campaigning in school systems across the U.S. to remove LGBTQ+ books and curriculum.
The South Dakota House of Representatives passed two anti-Transgender bills Tuesday. HB 1005, which would restrict Trans students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, and SB 46, which would restrict Trans women and girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity.
HB 1005 is now headed to the South Dakota Senate and SB 46 is headed to Republican Governor Kristi Noem’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law and become the first anti-Trans bill enacted in 2022 by a state.
Senate Bill 46 was authored and submitted to the legislature by Noem. The hasty passage of this bill comes after a historically bad 2021 session that saw a record number of anti-Trans bills introduced and passed across the country. Last month, South Dakotans gathered for six concurrent rallies across the state in protest of this legislation and other anti-transgender bills introduced this year.
In 2021, after issuing a style-and-form veto of an anti-trans sports ban bill, Noem issued two executive orders that effectively implemented the policy articulated in the vetoed legislation.
“The votes today by House lawmakers are shameful,” said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “Senate Bill 46 and House Bill 1005 reinforce the incorrect notion that transgender students are not entitled to the same dignity and respect as all students.”
On Senate Bill 46:
“Senate Bill 46 not only discriminates against trans women and girls in ways that compromise their health, social and emotional development, and safety, but also it violates federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection,” Jonelis said. “It perpetuates harmful myths about transgender people and reduces trans students to political pawns. Our lawmakers should be focused on protecting South Dakota’s youth by creating safe and welcoming environments rather than launching baseless attacks to score political points.”
On House Bill 1005:
“Transgender people, whether people know it or not, are already using the bathrooms and communal facilities they have a right to – and doing so without incident,” Jonelis said. “If House Bill 1005 is enacted, transgender people will have to make the impossible decision of breaking the law or revealing their private medical information – not to mention the obvious risk of harassment and violence that comes with forcing transgender people into the facilitates that do not match their gender identity. It is quite clear whose privacy and very lives are really at risk if our legislators continue to succumb to anti-trans fear and hatred and give it state sanction like this.”
“This early on in 2022, a year when we as a nation are facing unprecedented obstacles, it’s as heartbreaking as it is infuriating to see South Dakota lawmakers put such effort into attacking transgender youth. Bills like these are unnecessary and cruel, and we know the ugly rhetoric surrounding them is having a real impact on the mental health and wellbeing of one of our most marginalized groups of young people,” said Sam Ames, Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project.
“The Trevor Project’s research has found that transgender and nonbinary youth who reported experiencing discrimination based on their gender identity over something as basic as using the bathroom had nearly double the odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not. Lawmakers should be focusing on the real issues facing these young people and fostering spaces where everyone can be safe, not making life harder than it already is for the transgender and nonbinary youth of South Dakota.”
In a vote hailed by French President Emmanuel Macron, lawmakers in the National Assembly unanimously voted 142-0 on Tuesday to ban the discredited practice of so-called gay conversion therapy.
In a reaction to the vote, Macron tweeted: “The law prohibiting conversion therapy is adopted unanimously! Let’s be proud, these unworthy practices have no place in the Republic. Because being yourself is not a crime, because there is nothing to be cured.”
The law had already been passed by senators in December.
Those found guilty of so-called gay conversion therapy could face two years imprisonment and a €30,000 ($33,714.45) fine. The punishment could rise to three years in prison and a fine of €45,000 ($50,571.68) for attempts involving children or other particularly vulnerable people, Euronews reported.
“The practice of trying to “convert” LGBT+ people to heterosexuality or traditional gender expectations is scientifically discredited,” MP’s in support of the measure had argued previous to the final vote.
“We are sending out a strong signal because we are formally condemning all those who consider a change of sex or identity as an illness,” said Laurence Vanceunebrock, an MP with Macron’s ruling En Marche party.
Nearly every French MP who spoke on Tuesday echoed the same words; “there is nothing to cure.”
The Republican majority Florida House Education and Employment Committee on Thursday passed House Bill 1557, the Parental Rights in Education bill, colloquially referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill advancing the measure to the full House.
The bill also has provisions that appear to undermine LGBTQ support in schools and include vague parental notification requirements which could effectively “out” LGBTQ-identifying students to their parents without their consent.
“The Trevor Project’s research has found that LGBTQ youth who learned about LGBTQ issues or people in classes at school had 23 percent lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt in the past year. This bill will erase young LGBTQ students across Florida, forcing many back into the closet by policing their identity and silencing important discussions about the issues they face,” said Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project. “LGBTQ students deserve their history and experiences to be reflected in their education, just like their peers.”
In an email to the Los Angeles Blade, Brandon J. Wolf, the press secretary for Equality Florida noted; “Governor DeSantis’ march toward his own personal surveillance state continues. Today, the Don’t Say Gay bill, a piece of legislation to erase discussion of LGBTQ people from schools in Florida, passed its first committee and became another component of an agenda designed to police us in our classrooms, doctor’s offices, and workplaces. Make no mistake — LGBTQ people are your neighbors, family members, and friends. We are a normal, healthy part of society and we will not be erased.”
According to a recent poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of The Trevor Project, 85 percent of transgender and non-binary youth — and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66 percent) — say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health.
When asked about proposed legislation that would require schools to tell a student’s parent or guardian if they request to use a different name/pronoun or if they identify as LGBTQ at school, 56 percent of transgender and non-binary youth said it made them feel angry, 47 percent felt nervous and/or scared, 45 percent felt stressed, and more than 1 in 3 felt sad.
A bomb threat was phoned in Wednesday afternoon to the Wilshire Boulevard Koreatown offices of the TransLatin@ Coalition, Bamby Salcedo, the president and CEO of the non-profit organization told the Los Angeles Blade.
According to Salcedo, an unidentified male caller told the staff person who answered at approximately 3 p.m., while delivering the threat said; “You’re all going to die.” The staff immediately evacuated everyone from their offices and then contacted the Los Angeles Police Department for assistance.
Officers, specialists and detectives from the Rampart Division of the LAPD responded and swept the building. A spokesperson for the LAPD confirmed that the incident is under active investigation but would make no further comment.
On a Facebook post immediately after the incident the non-profit wrote; “To ensure the safety of our clients and staff members, we ask that you please NOT come to our office.”
In a follow-up post, Salcedo notified the organization and its clientele that the LAPD had given the all-clear and that their offices would resume normal operations Thursday at 9:00 a.m. PT.
“Thank you for your messages and concern for our staff and community,” Salcedo said.
“No amount of threats can stop us from our commitment to the TGI community,” she added.
The TransLatin@ Coalition was founded in 2009 by a group of transgender and gender non-conforming and intersex (TGI) immigrant women in Los Angeles as a grassroots response to address the specific needs of TGI Latino immigrants who live in the U.S.
Since then, the agency has become a nationally recognized organization with representation in 10 different states across the U.S. and provides direct services to TGI individuals in Los Angeles.
In 2015, the TransLatin@ Coalition identified the urgent need to provide direct services to empower TGI people in response to structural, institutional, and interpersonal violence, and the Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness was born.
Since then, the organization has secured funding from the state and local government sources as well as several private foundations and organizations to provide direct services to all TGI individuals in Los Angeles County.
The TransLatin@ Coalition’s primary focus is to change the landscape of access to services for TGI people and provide access to comprehensive resource and services that will improve the quality of life of TGI people.