A university that fired a professor after she came out as trans must reinstate her with tenure, a US appeals court has ruled.
The trans English professor, Rachel Tudor, won her sex discrimination lawsuit against Southeastern Oklahoma State University, claiming she was denied tenure and ultimately fired after she came out.
The university had argued that the hostility engendered by the six-year legal battle with Tudor, and the school’s concerns about her work, meant it shouldn’t have to reinstate her – but three judges at the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected that argument, according to Reuters.
The court said that because Tudor won her 2015 discrimination lawsuit it was clear that she would have been granted tenure if she wasn’t trans, ruling out the university’s arguments about her academic record.
“A tenured university professor holds an insular position that can effectively operate without the need for extensive collaboration with colleague or schools administrators,” circuit judge David Ebel wrote.
That amount was reduced to $300,000 by a judge in 2018, who cited the caps on damages under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964. The same judge, district judge Robin Cauthron in Oklahoma City, also awarded Tudor $60,000 in “front pay” to reflect her lost future earnings – despite her seeking more than $2 million in front pay.
In 2018, Cauthron denied Tudor’s request to be reinstated to her job with tenure, accepting the school’s claim that many other faculty members opposed her return and that it did not have the funds to pay her salary. Tudor appealed this decision, and the 10th Circuit ruling said her evidence was clearly sufficient for a jury to rule in her favour.
The panel of judges referred to evidence of the school’s dean and vice president making comments about Tudor’s appearance and lifestyle, the fact that a faculty committee had voted to grant her tenure, and testimony from experts affirming that Tudor is more qualified than other, tenured, professors in her department.
And the judges also agreed with Tudor that there was not the kind of “extreme hostility” that would make her reinstatement impossible.
“There are plenty of workarounds and solutions making reinstatement possible in cases where some animosity exists, such as a remote office, a new supervisor, or a clear set of workplace guidelines,” the judges wrote.
Forcing non-binary students to choose “male” or “female” on application forms leaves schools and colleges at “massive risk” of legal action, an expert has warned.
The forms that students pursuing further education must complete force them to choose a binary sex option – and non-binary students to misgender themselves.
This includes on the individualised learner record (ILR) that further education providers must fill in with a student’s information so they can access funding.
This is a policy set by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA), an “arms-length” official body sponsored by the Department of Education.
But the practice puts further education institutions at “massive risk” of legal action under the Equality Act 2010, said Emma Lambert of independent provider Dynamic Training.
“The ESFA’s old fashioned attitude to gender identities not only risks damaging the provider reputation, but it will undoubtedly end up in complaints and possibly legal action, which will be left with the provider to deal with,” Lambert told FE Week.
Dynamic Training, which provides apprenticeships for NHS nurses and skills courses for the Greater London Authority, asks its learners which pronouns they use and manually enters these into the documents.
However, Lambert explained, “there’s no way on the ILR system you can put anything other than male or female”.
She said she is “frustrated” by the lack of action from EFSA on this both because of the risk to providers and because she thinks “it’s wrong anyhow” not to allow students to select the correct gender for themselves.
Lambert added that Dyamic Training has raised this with EFSA multiple times, but only received non-committal answers.
Further education is the band describing education for students in the UK who are over the age of 16 but before degree-level, or higher, education.
Non-binary recognition part of ‘societal change’
While the Equality Act 2010 specifically protects those undergoing or proposing to undergo some form of gender reassignment, whether that protection extends to non-binary trans people has been unclear – until recently.
Last year, a landmark case won by a non-binary person against Jaguar Land Rover affirmed that non-binary and genderfluid people are protected from discrimination under the “gender reassignment” provision of the Equality Act 2010.
This progress, 11 years since the Equality Act was introduced, means it “seems timely for those characteristics protected by law to be reviewed and expanded in light of over a decade of societal change”, said Association of Colleges boss David Hughes.
Hughes added that while EFSA and the Department of Education are “working within limitations”, the challenge of including non-binary gender options on forms should not be “insurmountable”.
PinkNews contacted EFSA and the Department of Education for comment.
Health insurer Aetna Inc has been sued for allegedly discriminating against beneficiaries that are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer by requiring them to pay more out of pocket for fertility treatments.
In a proposed class action filed Monday in federal court in Manhattan, plaintiff Emma Goidel said she and her spouse were forced to spend nearly $45,000 for fertility treatments as a result of Aetna’s policy, which required same-sex couples to pay for fertility treatment out of pocket before becoming eligible for coverage.
A spokesperson for Aetna, which was acquired by CVS Health Corp in 2018, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Goidel is covered through her spouse by Aetna’s health insurance plan for Columbia University students, which provides broad coverage for intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments, according to the complaint.
However, while couples that can try to get pregnant through heterosexual intercourse can receive coverage simply by representing that they have tried for six or 12 months, depending on age, couples that cannot conceive through intercourse because of their sexual orientation or gender identity must first pay out of pocket for six or 12 months of IUI, according to the complaint.
Goidel alleges that beginning last year, she and her spouse paid for four unsuccessful IUI cycles, and one unsuccessful IVF cycle, before becoming pregnant through a fifth IUI cycle, all of which Aetna refused to cover.
She said she chose IUI despite previous failures in part because of the higher cost of IVF.
“Ms. Goidel has endured great emotional distress in having to choose a course of treatment based on cost, rather than based on her personal and medical circumstances in consultation with her doctor,” she said.
“Aetna’s discriminatory policy is an illegal tax on LGBTQ individuals that denies the equal rights of LGBTQ individuals to have children,” Goidel alleged. “At best, these individuals incur great costs due to Aetna’s policy language. At worst, these exorbitant costs are prohibitive and entirely prevent people who are unable to shoulder them — disproportionately LGBTQ people of color — from becoming pregnant and starting a family.”
The lawsuit cited a report from New York’s Department of Financial Services in February explicitly stating that policy’s like Aetna’s violated state law.
Goidel is bringing claims under the Affordable Care Act’s anti-discrimination provisions and New York state and city human rights laws, seeking to represent a class of people covered by Aetna student health plans in New York.
The case is Goidel v. Aetna Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-cv-07619.
Almost anyone who has ever purchased a home would agree – it is a very special and meaningful moment in life. For most of us, and often perhaps especially for those in the LGBTQ community, a home can be a place of refuge – a place where you can be part of a community and a neighborhood of others to whom you feel connected. It can be a place of support, celebration, and a starting point from which to thrive and grow with others you care about.
Understandably, then, the idea of losing that home that you love so much can be overwhelming, to say the least. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the predicament that many homeowners found themselves in as a result of the recent pandemic and all that has accompanied it.
Until recently, under the Cares Act, homeowners across the country who found themselves in a difficult financial position as a result of the pandemic and were having difficulty making their mortgage payments were offered two types of protection: first, a foreclosure moratorium that prohibited banks from foreclosing on homes, and secondly, the right to request and receive a forbearance, which would permit homeowners to temporarily stop making mortgage payments. Both gave homeowners the option to breathe a little easier as they tried to navigate all of the unanticipated life changes that accompanied the pandemic.
Recently, however, after being extended several times, the federal moratorium on mortgage foreclosures ended. Understandably, many homeowners, including many in the LGBTQ community who relied upon the moratorium may now find themselves feeling overwhelmed and anxious about what this means from a practical perspective. Does it suddenly mean that homeowners will find themselves faced with thousands of dollars of overdue payments that had been on hold for more than a year?
If you find yourself asking this question, know first, that you aren’t alone. It’s estimated that around 1.75 million homeowners, or approximately 3.5% of all homes, are in some stage of the foreclosure process with their bank. While it’s understandable to wonder and feel worried, try not to panic. While the end of the foreclosure moratorium does mean that lenders can proceed with foreclosures, LGBTQ homeowners who find themselves in a difficult situation can still reach out for help, and there are resources available.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has advised that those who received forbearance under the Cares Act and who are still experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic may have the opportunity to ask for and receive an extension. The federal government has also offered a series of measures that are intended to help prevent foreclosures, including:
• Providing qualifying homeowners with what roughly amounts to a 25% reduction in monthly principal and interest payments;
• Continuing the requirement that mortgage servicers give those borrowers who can resume payments the option of moving missed payments to the end of the mortgage at no additional cost;
• Offering assistance to those who are making less than they did before the pandemic, which will help them to seek work and catch up on missed tax and insurance payments.
It’s also important to keep in mind that ultimately, banks don’t currently have much incentive to foreclose on those homeowners who are behind on their mortgages. Housing prices have been steadily rising, meaning that few homeowners owe more on their mortgage than the overall value of their homes. As a result, banks are often more likely to restructure a loan, or possibly place missed payments on the back end of a mortgage. In some circumstances, a bank may attempt a forced sale instead of a foreclosure – allowing the bank to get some of its money back, and the homeowner to receive the equity they built in the home, and to move forward without a negative mark on their credit report.
In addition to helpful options offered by the government, LGBTQ homeowners facing foreclosure should reach out to their local communities and explore options that may be available there as well. Talk to realtors who know the community well and who may be aware of local assistance, counseling, or other resources. Reach out to family and friends who have been through this situation before. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes, we all need it.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that any legal proceeding takes time – typically, a foreclosure proceeding takes at least 120 days per federal law, as well as additional time for court proceedings. For that reason, instead of panicking, remember that you have time to plan. Reach out to family and friends for leads on places that you may be able to rent or stay at while you work to get back on your feet financially. Take advantage of any offers that your bank or lender may make to work through your current financial issues and come out in a better place on the other side, if possible. Most of all, remember that this time, like all difficult times in life, is temporary. You will find a way forward, and there is a better and brighter chapter ahead. At GayRealEstate.com, we’re here to help you get there.
At GayRealEstate.com, helping the LGBTQ community through every aspect of the real estate experience is our passion. In many cases, this means offering assistance with the home buying and selling process and connecting LGBTQ home buyers and sellers across the country with realtors who know and love their communities, and who can ensure that the buying and selling process is the best it can possibly be. In other cases, it means being there for our LGBTQ communities across the country and helping existing homeowners continue to love and live in the homes that they own. Whatever your real estate needs, we would welcome the opportunity to speak with you and learn how we might be able to help. Contact us at any time.
Protesters picketed Weill-Cornell, a private institution part of the New York Presbyterian Hospital system, earlier this month, demanding the hospital cease medically unnecessary surgeries on children born with intersex traits, and investigate a surgeon who conducts these operations.
Intersex people, or people born with variations in their sex characteristics, make up approximately 1.7 percent of the population. Surgeons popularized cosmetically “normalizing” surgeries on infants to remove gonads, reduce the size of the clitoris, or increase the size of the vagina. Intersex advocacy groups, as well as a range of medical and human rights organizations, have spoken out against the operations and called for regulation.
One type of procedure surgeons conduct reduces the size of the clitoris for cosmetic reasons. It carries the risk of pain, nerve damage, and scarring. Intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis, who underwent one of these at age four without their consent, called the operation a “clit job,” emphasizing that it should be an individual’s choice to modify their body.
As survivors of this procedure began speaking up, it became controversial. Weill-Cornell’s pediatric urology chief, Dr. Dix Poppas, in 2007 published a medical article that attempted to disprove claims of nerve damage from his clitoral surgeries by touching the genitals of girls he had operated on with a “vibratory device” and querying what they felt.
New York Presbyterian, in response to questions from Human Rights Watch, said, “In all circumstances we will continue to put our individual patients’ life and safety first” but did not commit to ending the surgeries at their hospitals; Dr. Poppas did not reply to a request for comment.
All hospitals should end these harmful surgeries immediately.
As the OnlyFans debacle highlights, the fight to supposedly make the internet a safer place is having a series of secondary impacts. In particular, it is having a silencing effect on key aspects of LGBTQ culture. But that’s just fine for the anti-LGBTQ groups that have lobbied Congress to crack down on OnlyFans and on sexuality in general.
On Aug. 10, over 100 conservative-leaning members of Congress wrote a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate OnlyFans. Alleging child sexual exploitation, the lawmakers cited research by an anti-LGBTQ group called the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Formerly known as Morality in Media, the group has boycotted Disney for extending benefits to the same-sex partners of its employees and called for a boycott of Time Warnerafter the release of Madonna’s 1992 book “Sex,” which the group called “sick, violent pornography.” Its president, Patrick A. Trueman, formerly led the American Family Association, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designated a hate group for its longtime anti-LGBTQ views and campaigns.
NCOSE isn’t the only group lobbying corporate interests and the government to eradicate sexual content, but it’s arguably the leader in the field, having railed against public displays of sexuality since 1962 and spending $5.1 million to do so in 2020.
I’m not going to argue whether or not there’s sex trafficking happening on the internet. But many of the groups leading the charge against it have other agendas, and their one-size-fits-all attempts to guard the internet against traffickers end up not only duping well-intentioned supporters, but also threatening the incomes of already marginalized workers and swallowing entire communities into a consuming maw of fundamentalist Christian, anti-sex censorship.
Their one-size-fits-all attempts to guard the internet against traffickers end up not only duping well-intentioned supporters, but also threatening the incomes of already marginalized workers.
In August, The New Yorker spoke with queer historians about how the ban eradicated a market for materials, from conceptual art to the vital gay leather magazine Drummer, that even museums depend on for acquisitions. Drummer featured plenty of shirtless men on its covers, but it also included important information for the leather community. And highlighting the seemingly arbitrary nature of this ban, the iconic women-run erotic magazine On Our Backs was somehow spared.
Meanwhile, FOSTA-SESTA made a queer comic artist cancel the publishing of her own book (in which a sex worker was interviewed) because she worried she could be accused of sex trafficking. “We already face steep barriers in advertising due to mainstream society’s tendency to frame LGBT as inherently sexual, regardless of heat level,” romance writer Katie de Long told Rolling Stone in 2018. “This is only gonna get worse under policies that say simply mentioning terms related to our sexuality or identities can get us banned.”
FOSTA-SESTA’s impact has also had a silencing effect on sex educators, a vital resource for the many LGBTQ youth across the country who are given no information in school about their sexuality and gender identity. Of the 50 U.S. states, only a handful require school-based sex education be inclusive of LGBTQ people. In most of America, queer and trans youth must take their questions about identity and sex to internet search bars and social media accounts. Those questions often have life-altering implications, whether the answers are aimed at preventing sexually transmitted infections or simply feeling less isolated and weird about your desires.
While not necessarily related to FOSTA-SESTA, queer and trans social media users have complained of identity terms being censored on platforms because of their proximity to porn, of all things. In 2017, Twitter came under fire for blocking the word “bisexual,” saying at the time that it had been added to a list of terms “typically associated with adult content.”
Earlier this year, TikTok users complained that terms like “intersex” and “lesbian” were shadowbanned; searches for the words didn’t bring up results, and lesbian users had launched the tongue-in-cheek “le$bean” hashtag after finding that content with the hashtag #lesbian was frequently removed. Both platforms either apologized or said the issues were mistakes, but continuously evolving content moderation policies seem to target the LGBTQ community on a regular basis: In 2019, the feminist magazine “Salty” was banned from advertising its latest cover featuring several fully-clothed trans women of color — because the Instagram algorithm had mistakenly flagged it as an ad for an escort service.
Swift action from platforms to remedy such missteps is important, but don’t answer the question of why this keep happening — because it doesn’t appear to have stopped. This week, popular queer TikTok star @therealclaybaby posted an Instagram video complaining that he repeatedly gets locked out of his account for violating community guidelines about sexual activity.
The Texas-based creator is known for messy drag, irreverent rants and improvised raps, but the “adult nudity and sexual activity” he’s been flagged for don’t appear on the account. It’s unclear whether he’s being reported by homophobic viewers, or just flagged by an imperfect algorithm, but either way the creator’s income from sponsored posts was threatened. To say that it’s frustrating for queer and trans people to be automatically associated with pornography just by existing would be an understatement.
This kind of algorithmic bias has a similar effect to platforms that ban LGBTQ content under restrictive “adult” bans to comply with FOSTA-SESTA: both silence speech and prevent entire communities from being able to connect online. Few among us can say we’ve never had a post deleted, or had an entire account temporarily or permanently deactivated because we used a self-descriptive LGBTQ term (such as “dyke”) in a post or caption, or because something we posted was deemed inappropriate for some mysterious reason.
The great irony is that many of the content rules that silence LGBTQ expression online may have been put there to protect us from harassment, just as the rules that are de-sexualizing the internet claim to protect us from abuse. And as the anti-sex panic continues to sweep online spaces, it’s only natural for queer folks to expect that our very existence will continue to be conflated with porn by algorithms and whoever oversees the godlike task of creating keyword blocklists.
In GLAAD’s new Social Media Safety Index, the first report to measure online safety for LGBTQ people, algorithmic bias is just one small part of a report that largely monitors hate speech. But just as lawmakers need to do a better job at seeing the difference between sex trafficking and healthy, consensual human sexuality, platforms need to do better at distinguishing between hate speech and pride speech.
There’s no comparison between an underage girl being pimped out by a trafficker and a barista trying to make rent posting sexy videos on websites like OnlyFans. And there’s a vast gap between a young lesbian using the hashtag #dyke to connect with friends and vitriolic hate slurs used to terrorize and harass someone. Yes, training algorithms to find that difference is a challenge. But if it manages to police queer and trans users at current levels, surely it can also learn our language.
Twenty years ago, on one of America’s darkest days, two planes flew into the twin towers, another into the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania.
But even during the tragic early morning hours of Sept. 11, 2001, there were heroes. People like Mark Bingham, who was aboard United Airlines Flight 93 when it went down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. And the Rev. Mychal Judge, who was tending to victims in the World Trade Center’s north tower when debris from the collapsing south tower killed him and many others.
On the face of it, the two men couldn’t have been more different: Bingham was 31 when he was killed; Judge was 68. Bingham, a former college rugby player with a 6-foot-5, 220-pound build, was a gay public relations executive with an active dating life. Judge was a kindly Franciscan friar who was “selectively out,” according to longtime friend and LGBTQ activist Brendan Fay.
But both men showed courage beyond comprehension that day, saving lives and perhaps even souls.
Along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, Bingham confronted the four hijackers aboard United 93. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, their actions ultimately led to the plane crashing in an empty field instead of slamming into its intended target, likely the White House or the U.S. Capitol.
Bingham had enough time to call his mother, Alice Hoagland, to explain what was happening and tell her he loved her.
The chaplain for the New York City Fire Department, Judge rushed downtown when he heard the World Trade Center had been hit and provided aid to the injured in the area and prayers for the dead.
He then entered the north tower, where a command post had been established, and continued to minister to rescue workers and those trapped in the building. Judge was administering last rites when he was killed, The Irish Times reported in 2018, and praying, “God, please end this.”
But there were other threads that connected Bingham and Judge besides their bravery, including their zest for life.
Judge “had a bursting-at-the-sides sense of humor,” said Fay, who co-produced the 2006 documentary “Saint of 9/11.” “He loved to sing and was a real jokester, with a laugh that would fill a room.”
Bingham, once the president of the Chi Psi fraternity at University of California, Berkeley, “was the life of the party,” said Amanda Mark, his roommate in New York and longtime friend. A 2001 Advocate profile recalled Bingham drunkenly running on the field at a college football game to tackle the opposing team’s mascot.
And, according to those who knew them, they both went through a journey of accepting their sexualities.
Like a lot of young gay men of his generation, Bingham struggled to some degree with his sexual orientation. He had come out to his fraternity brothers and his mom, but he wasn’t entirely out at work. Even when he first started playing in a gay rugby league in San Francisco, he had his face blurred in photos in the local press.
“San Francisco didn’t serve as a beacon for him as it had to so many others,” Jon Barrett wrote in the preface to his 2002 biography “Hero of Flight 93.”“He lived there by default, for the most part. His family had moved to the Bay Area in the early 1980s, and most of them were still there.”
Mark recalled how one night, after Bingham relocated to New York and moved in with her, he confessed he wanted “to write the Great American Novel — but gay.”
“So that you’d have to read it in high school, and people would understand that gay people were always among us and were totally normal and a part of our lives,” she said.
Judge’s sexual orientation was not made public until after his death, but he did actively minister to New York’s LGBTQ community in the 1980s and ‘90s and form one of the first Catholic AIDS ministries.
Fay met Judge in the 1980s through the LGBTQ Catholic organization DignityUSA. He said the FDNY chaplain “was out to friars and friends and people he could trust — or people he thought coming out to would help, like parents wanting to support their gay children.”
Judge was one of the few priests who would conduct Mass and provide sacraments to Dignity members.
Immediately recognizable in his brown robe and sandals, Judge visited people who were sick and dying at St. Vincent’s Hospital’s AIDS ward and lead funerals for the young men when their local parishes refused.
“He’d go to Connecticut, to New Jersey; he’d get on an airplane and fly out to do a funeral in Ohio,” Fay said.
Judge was supportive of groups like PFLAG, a nonprofit group serving LGBTQ people and their families, and wrote one of the first checks for the St. Pat’s for All parade, the inclusive celebration Fay founded in 2000.
“Mychal Judge took risks. He pushed boundaries,” Fay said. “He wasn’t a flag-waver, but he definitely pushed boundaries. He figured out how to weave around and do what he felt needed to be done without suffering the wrath of the church.”
He never missed a Pride parade if he could help it, though he walked with Franciscan brothers. According to Fay, he also regularly attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for LGBTQ people.
“It was in these rooms where Mychal felt he could be himself,” Fay said.
Friends of both Bingham and Judge also recalled their great sense of compassion and tendency to form long-lasting bonds.
When TWA Flight 800 exploded over the ocean near East Moriches, New York, on July 17, 1996, Judge showed up for several days and forged close relationships with many grieving families.
“When he connected with you in a moment of struggle, very often he stayed with you for life,” Fay said.
Mark had met Bingham in 1988 when she was in high school in Australia and he was part of a group of American teens who came to play rugby in an exhibition. Over the years and across two continents, their bond grew closer.
“Rugby taught Mark to be a team player,” she said. “When you joined the team, you were part of the family. When another player was advancing to the goal line, he’d shout, ‘I’m with you! I’m with you!’ That’s what you say in rugby, but it really embodied everything Mark was about. He couldn’t tolerate unfairness or injustice, and he wasn’t afraid to stand up for the people he loved.”
She called Bingham “the great connector” for his ability to bring disparate groups together. He was always making new friends while still reaffirming bonds with old ones — through phone calls, emails and surprise visits.
Once, when she and her friends returned home to one of their houses in Sydney, they found Bingham waiting for them in the living room. He had flown in unannounced from the U.S.
“He’d say, ‘Let’s keep in touch,’ and he would. And he’d arrange to see you when he was in town,” she said. “He would have just loved Facebook.”
A rugby player at UC Berkeley, Bingham continued to play the sport after moving to San Francisco. He even became a key figure in the creation of the International Gay Rugby league in 2000.
Just months before he died, Bingham was at the league’s first invitational in May 2001, helping the San Francisco Fog defeat the hometown team, the Washington, D.C., Renegades, in a 19-0 shutout.
At the time of the crash, Bingham was working to bring a gay rugby team to New York, which led to the formation of the Gotham Knights.
“Mark’s two worlds were rugby and being gay, and when those worlds collided, he was ecstatic,” Mark said.
After the terrorist attacks, when it became public that Judge was gay “there was a big debate in Catholic circles,” said DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, which advocates for inclusion for LGBTQ Catholics.
“People couldn’t resolve the fact that a gay person could be holy and selfless,” he said. “It was like cognitive dissonance. I wasn’t even totally convinced he was a gay man until I started doing the research [for the book].”
But, he added, Judge’s whole sense of ministry, of being of service to others, came from his coming to terms with being gay.
“He had empathy and sensitivity to being on the margins,” DeBernardo said. “And he understood the great love God had for him just as he was.”
DeBernardo, like other biographers and friends, said he believes Judge honored his vow of celibacy.
“But speaking to others about how accepting he was of his sexuality — and almost not caring if you knew — I can’t believe he’d want to be closeted now,” he said.
Bingham’s closest friends and family were also ambivalent about his being heralded as a gay hero.
“At first I really felt like his being gay didn’t matter,” Mark said. “Don’t put out ‘gay hero’; he was just a hero.”
But in the weeks after the attacks, she, Hoagland and Bingham’s other friends spoke more about it.
“We decided at that time we should encourage that perspective,” Mark said, “because the truth was there weren’t any gay heroes.”
The gay rugby community wasted little time deciding how to honor their fallen brother: In June 2002, less than a year after the attacks, the inaugural Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament —commonly known as the Bingham Cup — was held in San Francisco with eight teams.
In 2018, the last year the biannual event was held, the competition welcomed 74 teams from 20 different countries. The 2022 Bingham Cup in Ottawa, Ontario, rescheduled from 2020 because of the pandemic, will include 148 teams.
Bingham never got to write his novel, but the tournament that bears his name imparts the lesson he wanted to share, according to Mark.
“Part of the Bingham Cup journey for so many players, they’ll tell you, is that they wanted to play sport but gave it up because they didn’t think they’d fit in,” she said. “Even though they’d never met Mark, they’d say he changed their life.”
Hoagland was integral in keeping her son’s legacy alive: Before her death in 2020, she regularly attended the Bingham Cup tournaments, where players would chant her name and flock to have their photos taken with her.https://iframe.nbcnews.com/UEJc9X6?app=1
One of the tournament’s prizes is called the Hoagland Cup in her honor.
“She was a mother to us all,” Bingham Cup President Jean-François Laberge said. “A lot of members of the IGR movement were abandoned or disowned by their families. She became a mother figure to players across the globe.”
Laberge said he had several discussions with Hoagland and Mark “about the importance of ensuring the tournament not just go on but continue to thrive.”
“All that IGR is, and all that the Bingham Cup has become, carries on Mark’s legacy,” Laberge said. Next year’s tournament will spotlight “our shared values of inclusion, respect and athletic competition,” he added, including a summit on transgender athletes and a wheelchair rugby exhibition game.
At a special dedication ceremony, a Canadian maple will be planted in Ottawa’s Ken Steele Park, where a plaque will officially designate a newly upgraded rugby pitch the Mark Bingham Field.
Judge’s legacy, meanwhile, is both more audacious and more complicated, as supporters redouble their efforts to have him canonized as a Catholic saint.
DeBernardo said a big push for the sainthood movement actually came from the Vatican itself: In 2017, DeBernardo received a call from the Rev. Luis Escalante, an official from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, suggesting the idea.
“There are many avenues to sainthood,” DeBernardo said. “One is if you are a martyr — someone who dies for the faith. But that year, Pope Francis opened another avenue, ‘the offerer of life.’ Someone who knowingly gives their life as an act of service to others.”
Escalante thought Judge fit into that category, DeBernardo said, “because he went into that building knowing it was very likely he wouldn’t make it out, but he wanted to minister.”
Fay said he understands the desire to have Judge recognized by the church, but he’s not sure Judge would want the honor.
“I think he’d rather there be a shelter in his name for LGBT youth,” he said.
Achieving sainthood is a protracted process involving much research and a lengthy formal investigation. According to DeBernardo, Escalante knew Judge was involved in the gay community and wanted New Ways Ministry to help find people who knew him to provide firsthand accounts or documents “that will give a clearer, more detailed picture of his life, spirituality, and ministry,”DeBernardo wrote in a 2017 post on the ministry’s website, especially “any information regarding a possible miracle attributed to Fr. Judge’s intercession.”
Soon Escalante began receiving testimonies supporting canonization from the many communities Judge touched: firefighters, LGBTQ people, homeless people, AA members and others.
Four years later, on Sept. 2, Escalante called DeBernardo again: The testimonies were helpful, but the process had stalled.
Typically, candidates for sainthood have a sponsor who provides advocacy and fundraising.
“That’s why so many saints belong to holy orders,” DeBernardo said.
But Judge’s order, the Franciscans, declined to sponsor him.
“We are very proud of our brother’s legacy and we have shared his story with many people,” the Rev. Kevin Mullen, leader of the Franciscans’ New York-based Holy Name Province, told The Associated Press. “We leave it to our brothers in the generations to come to inquire about sainthood.”
Escalante implored DeBernardo to encourage a grassroots movement to take up the cause.
On Sept. 11, 2021 — two decades after Judge’s death — New Ways Ministry put out the call for individuals and organizations to form an association to sponsor Judge’s canonization.
In a statement, New Ways Ministry co-founder Sister Jeannine Gramick said she was hopeful people will come forward “so that this priest who symbolized God’s love to so many different communities will be recognized for the way he himself responded to God’s love.”
CORRECTION (Sept. 11, 2021, 12:52 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the publication year of an article in The Irish Times about the Rev. Mychal Judge. It was published in 2018, not 2011.
Just when we thought it was safe to hit the road, we were walloped by the Delta variant, the latest plot twist in the 18-month-and-counting pandemic story. The surprising data that fully vaccinated people could transmit the virus came shockingly from Provincetown with a 90% vaccination rate. Ptown quickly tightened restrictions requiring masking at all indoor locations and proof of vaccine at all entertainment venues — interventions that worked. As of press time, the positivity rate there is much lower than much of the rest of the U.S. and it remains one of our top recommendations this fall and beyond. Ptown demonstrated a successful response — stressing safety yet continuing to deliver a deeply satisfying experience.
Read on for our favorite queer-friendly destinations striving to create a safe space for you and strategies for navigating the increasingly complex world of pandemic travel. Safe, beautiful and fun LGBTQ-friendly destinations, experiences and accommodations beckon whether you seek to recharge your batteries, deplete them or a little of both.
Queer and safe destinations
• Provincetown, Mass. is our very own home beyond the rainbow as suggested by this year’s Carnival theme. Book far ahead for popular weeks (July 4; Bear Week; and Carnival) but we recommend visiting outside of the most popular times for a less frantic more enjoyable stay. There are diverse LGBTQ-oriented events almost every weekend through New Year’s Eve. Information: Provincetown Business Guild and Provincetown for Women.
• Fort Lauderdale and Miami remain the beating heart of LGBTQ-friendly Florida despite the barbaric state-level response causing the Sunshine State to be among the worst hit in the U.S. by the pandemic. Fort Lauderdale has been world renowned for its authentic and inclusive vibe for all visitors since 1996. More than 1,000 local businesses have taken the Safe & Clean Pledge. Likewise, Miami has implemented the Greater Miami Travel Guidelines and Destination Pledge accessible from the destination’s homepage outlining how safety measures are being implemented throughout the community.
• Puerto Rico is the undisputed LGBTQ capital of the Caribbean enticing visitors with reliably warm, sunny weather and a sincere outreach to queer travelers. Despite unfortunate, highly publicized attacks on local transgender people, Puerto Rico boasts a visible and vibrant trans community, and nightlife options that specifically cater to queer and non-binary folx. This helps create a safer and more comfortable environment than other warm-weather destinations in the Caribbean or Mexico, which lack venues for a trans community that mostly lives in hiding. Information: Discover Puerto Rico.
• Philadelphia makes for a fun urban getaway. Once the kids are back in school and the lines at the Liberty Bell disappear, you’ll find a warm, walkable and LGBTQ-welcoming city. Find LGBTQ restaurants, safe nightlife, engaging events and recommendations galore at Visit Philly. Pro tip: Try to schedule a half day at the Barnes Foundation art collection.
• Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Wait, what? Yep, this charming midwestern town is our top unexpected recommendation. You’ll find historic cultural venues, a walkable entertainment district with plenty of topnotch live music and theatrical performances, a delectable culinary scene and a truly warm welcome. Find trip-planning recommendations at the destination’s website.
Queer cruises and land vacations
Cruises are coming back, and it may be surprising to hear that they are probably the safest vacation you can take. According to Randle Roper, CEO at VACAYA, an LGBT+ vacation company, “With cruise lines soon to mandate that all guests and crew members must be vaccinated, cruise ships will be among the very safest locations on the planet – with the entire population vaccinated. Making sensible choices like masking and social distancing while ashore, cruisers can avoid infection altogether.” Resort vacations are also safe with similar universal vaccinations and plenty of room for guests to spread out. Remember with no children during LGBTQ weeks at mainstream resorts, they offer much more space per adult guest. VACAYA’s big 2021 fall events include an all-inclusive Mexico resort vacation (Oct. 30-Nov. 6) and a New Orleans Cruise (Nov. 14-22). In 2022, there are only two trips that still have rooms available: the Caribbean Cruise (Jan. 10-17) and the all-inclusive Costa Rica Resort (June 5-12). Information and booking at MyVACAYA.com.
Not only will queer tour companies get you there and back safely, but “they also can ensure your money is being spent with other welcoming, progressive and even queer businesses and individuals around the world,” according to Robert Sharp, founder of Out Adventures. “This is even more important,” he continues, “when planning travel to countries that are known to be less than queer welcoming.” Visit their site to read about their New Year’s Eve trips to Thailand and Cuba and in 2022, their Iceland winter trip, and four back-to-back Croatia small group cruises, which are starting to sell out.
R Family Vacations is one of our top recommendations for planning an incredibly fun and satisfying tour or cruise (big ship and river cruises) in the company of other queer travelers and allies. You don’t even have to have children to join their trips. In 2022, R Family offers land tours in Thailand and Ireland; an LGBTQ group on board a cruise in Alaska; and a magical all-queer full-ship-charter Uniworld river cruise in Northern Italy among other trips. Information: R Family Vacation, rfamilyvacations.com.
Even in this uncertain time, you can enjoy enriching and joyful travel opportunities in LGBTQ-friendly environments in a way that maximizes safety and minimizes risk. You just have to plan a little more. We highly recommend using an LGBTQ expert travel adviser who keeps up to date on LGBTQ-friendly tour, cruise, and safari providers, as well as destinations and hotels and that understand innately the needs and concerns of LGBTQ travelers. They dedicate themselves to both LGBTQ travel safety and keeping up with the latest, ever-shifting pandemic-era guidance, health protocols, openings, and closings. They know how to get the best value for your time and money, and, thanks to their global connections, they can often score VIP upgrades for you at hotels, on cruise lines, on tours, and more. They are also your most important advocate when trips are cancelled or rescheduled. Best of all clients use travel advisers, like our top picks here, for no additional fees:
We’ve heard far too many stories of queer guests receiving a frosty welcome (or worse) when checking into a hotel or AirBnB. These are our top choices for LGBTQ-friendly resources for accommodations where you can truly relax and be your authentic selves:
MisterBnB includes one million LGBTQ-friendly listings in 200 countries and is primarily geared towards gay men.
FabStayz proudly offers accommodations inclusive of all the letters of our ever-growing acronym.
Booking.com is rolling out an LGBTQ certification program, including live training and ancillary materials, for their hotel partners over the next year. Look for the “Proud Hospitality” label on listings.
NYC-based Ed Salvato is a freelance travel writer, instructor at NYU and the University of Texas at Austin’s NYC Center, and an LGBTQ tourism marketing specialist. This article is courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association.
“AOC calls women ‘menstruating people’ while explaining the female body,” read a screenshot of a headline from the Daily Mail that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared to Twitter – and the much-loved congresswoman was having none of it.
“Not just women!” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Trans men & non-binary people can also menstruate.
“Some women also *don’t* menstruate for many reasons, including surviving cancer that required a hysterectomy.”
She continued: “GOP mad at this are protecting the patriarchal idea that women are most valuable as uterus holders.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that trans and non-binary people have ‘always existed’
In a follow-up tweet, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez added: “Trans, two-spirit, and non-binary people have always existed and will always exist.
“People can stay mad about that if they want, or they can grow up.
Ocasio-Cortez’s incredible clapback has already been liked more than 70,000 times, while countless LGBT+ people rushed into the replies to thank her for standing up for the queer community.
Many also weighed in to applaud Ocasio-Cortez for drawing attention to the fact that not all women menstruate.
The story in question referred to Ocasio-Cortez schooling Texas governor Greg Abbott on the menstrual cycle, after he suggested that his abhorrent law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy “provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion”.
AOC pointed out that many would not know they are even pregnant at six weeks, being that their period might only be two weeks’ late at that point, which is not unusual.
“I don’t know if he is familiar with a menstruating person’s body,” she said. “In fact, I do know that he’s not familiar with a woman – with a female or menstruating person’s body, because if he did, he would know that you don’t have six weeks.”
This is far from the first time that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has used her sizeable platform to stand up for LGBT+ rights.
In October 2020, she won praise from queer Americans when she used her mammoth Twitch debut to deliver a rallying cry for trans rights.
Speaking in front of hundreds of thousands of people, Ocasio-Cortez bellowed: “Trans rights!” into her microphone.
The congresswoman has become well known for her truly epic clapbacks and takedowns. In June, she won the hearts of pretty much everyone when she slammed Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene for calling her a “little communist” during a rally.
Proving that her sense of humour is perfectly pitched, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared video footage of Greene’s rally speech and simply wrote: “First of all, I’m taller than her.”
Nearly 1 in 10 LGBTQ people in the United States experienced workplace discrimination in the last year, and almost half faced employment bias at some point in their careers, according to a new survey.
The findings were published Tuesday in a report titled LGBT People’s Experiences of Workplace Discrimination and Harassmentby the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. It found that 46 percent of LGBTQ workers reported receiving unfair treatment at some point in their careers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity — including being passed over for a job, harassed at work, denied a promotion or raise, excluded from company events, denied additional hours or fired. An estimated 9 percent reported being denied a job or laid off in the past 12 months because of their orientation or identity.
Researchers at the institute surveyed 935 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer adults in May 2021, more than a year into a pandemic that has disrupted so many workplaces. Their questions asked respondents about discrimination in the last year, last five years and throughout their lifetimes. Because of the pandemic, questions about the previous year only related to whether subjects had been fired or denied a job.
As many as 1 in 4 (25.9 percent) LGBTQ employees said they had been sexually harassed at work at some point, while 1 in 5 (20.8 percent) reported physical harassment — including being “punched,” “hit” and “beaten up” on the job.
A Black queer woman in Pennsylvania told researchers that male co-workers inappropriately touched her and told her, “If you let me, I can turn you straight.” She described their behavior as “obviously very offensive and creepy.”
Another respondent, a gay man in Ohio, recalled a boss who treated him “horribly.”
“She would call me queer at all times and slap me in the face … it went on and on for over a year,” he reported. “It was one of the saddest moments of my entire career and life.”
Reports of discrimination were higher among LGBTQ people of color, 29 percent of whom said they had been denied a job at some point because of their identity, compared to 18 percent of white LGBTQ employees. In addition, 36 percent of LGBTQ employees of color reported experiencing verbal harassment on the job, compared to 26 percent of white respondents.
Many respondents reported being given bad shifts or having their hours reduced, said Brad Sears, executive director at the Williams Institute and lead author of the new study.
“Shift work is a day-to-day reality for millions of Americans,” he said. “It’s harder to prove your boss is intentionally [giving you a bad schedule], but it can have a profound impact on your life.”
The report comes even as the judicial and the executive branches have been shoring up employment rights for LGBTQ workers: In June 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v Clayton County, Georgia, that Title VII’s protection against sex discrimination in employment extended to sexual orientation and gender identity.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing any federal agency with protections against discrimination based on sex to interpret those statutes to also protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
“Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes,” he said in the order.
On Friday, a federal judge in Charlotte, North Carolina, ruled a Catholic high school couldn’t fire a gay drama teacher after he announced his engagement on Facebook.
“We were surprised there was such high percentages of discrimination in the last year, given the Supreme Court ruling and especially the pandemic,” Sears said. “We thought a lot of companies and workers would be coming together in a new way.”
More than half (57 percent) of LGBTQ employees who reported workplace discrimination said it was motivated by religious beliefs, while 49 percent of white LGBTQ respondents and 64 percent of LGBTQ people of color who said they experienced bias found this to be the cause.
“I was told I was going to hell during a job interview for liking women,” a Black bisexual woman in Texas told researchers.
Sears said religion-based bias was “out in the open,” with employers and co-workers clearly citing their religious beliefs, even in secular workplaces.
“For many, this included being quoted to from the Bible, told to pray that they weren’t LGBT, and told that they would ‘go to hell’ or were ‘an abomination,’” the study reported.
Sears is pressing for passage of the Equality Act, a sweeping LGBTQ rights bill that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in numerous arenas, including employment. The measure cleared the Democratic-controlled House in late February but has a tougher fight in the Senate.
“Bostock was a general pronouncement against discrimination,” Sears said. “The Equality Act gets into the details of the statutes and will provide clear guidance that these behaviors are against the law.”
According to an earlier Williams Institute report, there are approximately 8.1 million LGBTQ workers over the age of 16 in the U.S., almost half (3.9 million) of whom live in states without anti-discrimination laws protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.
Half of the respondents in the new survey said they weren’t out to their direct supervisor, and a quarter (26 percent) were completely closeted on the job. Many reported using “covering” behaviors to avoid harassment or discrimination, including avoiding talking about their personal lives.
According to the report, “Some of the respondents reported engaging in these covering behaviors because their supervisors or co-workers explicitly told them to do so.”
For transgender employees, more than a third (36 percent) said they’ve altered their appearance and used a different bathroom at work to avoid discrimination and harassment.
This latest report is particularly timely as many workers return to the office after working from home during the ongoing pandemic, Sears said.
“Maybe you spent a year or 18 months not having to hide who you are and suddenly now you’re faced with the possibility of having to go back in the closet,” he said. “It’s going to be a real eye-opener.”