“Angel was free-spirited and wasn’t afraid to be no-one but herself,” the fundraiser reads.
The friend described Haynes as “caring, determined, funny, smart and giving” and added: “Unfortunately, our time with her was cut very very short. She was MURDERED!! She was taken away from her mom, grandmother, uncle… she was taken away from all of us unexpectedly.”
Friends and family gathered on Friday (October 30) where they held a candlelit vigil to remember Haynes.
Racist Grindr users often face “zero consequences whatsoever” on the gay dating app, according to a researcher.
Gene Lim, who is currently completing a PhD at Monash University in Melbourne investigating sexual racism, told ABCthat racism is rampant on the app – and that aggressors often don’t face any repercussions.×
Lim, who is gay and Asian, said: “The first thing you start realising is that a lot of people don’t find Asians attractive, and it directly affects your self-esteem.
“There are a lot of times when people like myself, we just don’t feel like we should be there.
“Your white friends are hooking up left, right and centre. And you’re the only one in your friendship group who hasn’t had a date or even a hookup in months.”
Sexual racism researcher Gene Lim said racism often goes unpunished on Grindr.
Grindr bans racism and discrimination in its community guidelines, but Lim said that such behaviour often goes unpunished.
“I know of instances where after someone has been reported for racism or even other offences, they face zero consequences whatsoever,” he said.
“Grindr is not ever incentivised to crack down on these individuals. They only take immediate action against people trying to use their platform to advertise paid services.”
Clinton, CEO of the Transgender Health and Wellness Center in Cathedral City, California, said she has been working 70-hour weeks providing services to the LGBTQ community, which has been hit especially hard as the Covid-19 pandemic rapidly spreads across the U.S.
She said she’s seen a rise in transgender people seeking the center’s help after they have lost their homes or jobs and have had to go back to sex work to make ends meet.
The social and economic disparities are hitting the transgender community “very hard,” Clinton said in a phone interview with CNBC, adding transgender people already faced extra obstacles before the pandemic. “I’ve also noticed a growth in mental health issues, basically suicidal thoughts and attempt.”
Doctors are concerned the pandemic, which has shuttered businesses and schools and left people without jobs, may hit the LGBTQ community harder than most others.
According to the U.S. Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, the LGBTQ community, a diverse group of people that includes a variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, tends to face higher rates of cardiovascular diseases, obesity and other health problems that research suggests can make a coronavirus infection more severe. They also experience higher rates of illicit drug use, homelessness, isolation, anxiety, depression and suicide and often face barriers to health care, medical experts say.
“All the issues that existed prior to the pandemic still exist but are even worse. They’ve been amplified by the pandemic,” said Dr. Scott Nass, GLMA’s president.
But doctors and health experts are unsure how severe the impact on the LGBTQ community is because data is so limited. Most state health officials responsible for collecting data on coronavirus cases often report information such as race, age and sex but not other details like sexual orientation and gender identity, health advocates and experts point out.
“In many places across the world and U.S., we don’t have good data collection,” said Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, the American Medical Association’s former board chair. “Because LGBTQ people are often invisible when it comes to data collection in a variety of contexts, including health care, that has really limited our ability to get out information about what’s going on.”
Doctors fear the impact on LGBTQ people could be substantial when considering the social, economic and health risk factors the community already faces.
Dr. Sarah Ketchen Lipson, a professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health, said the pandemic is likely putting significant stress on young LGBTQ people, particularly those heading to college with a smaller group of friends and social distancing measures.
“The college years, like age 18 to 24, are a really key time for gender identity development and general psychosocial development,” she said in a phone interview. “And many young people find or have a stronger sense of community when they arrive at the campus, and that’s particularly true for sexual and gender minorities.”
“One thing I’m really worried about for that population is how the pandemic is making it much more difficult for students to find a sense of community on campus,” she added.
Lipson, co-principal investigator of the Healthy Minds Study, a national survey on mental health among college students, said the pandemic has also limited LGBTQ students’ access to mental health services and gender-affirming services, like hormone replacement therapy.
“This is a key time for higher education to not be cutting back on the availability of mental health services, and schools obviously have to make really difficult decisions in terms of their budgets,” she said. “Schools may end up paying for that in a much bigger way if they are not tending to their students’ mental health needs.”
Dr. Barbara Taylor, who treats HIV patients and is a professor of infectious diseases in San Antonio, said there has been a drop nationwide in people getting tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases since many outreach programs were forced to suspend services because of the pandemic. The result could lead to a rise in people who don’t realize they have HIV, a virus that disproportionately impacts gay and bisexual men.
Taylor, a provider within University Health System, said many clients are “very nervous” about coming into a health-care setting where they might get exposed to Covid-19. She said marginalized patients, like those she treats, already face barriers to care such as lack of health insurance, lack of transportation and stable housing. She added data on the impact on LGBTQ people is “just not there.”
“This is a structural thing. Everything about this pandemic has highlighted existing structural inequities. This pandemic is highlighting inequities in the LGBTQ community just like it’s highlighting inequities in communities of color,” she said. “Covid just shines a spotlight on the injustices in our system.”
Ehrenfeld, a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said he is also worried about a rise in domestic abuse, which sexual and gender minorities are more likely to experience than their heterosexual counterparts. Domestic abuse is on the rise, studies have shown, as more people have to stay at home.
“We know that LGBTQ people are often more likely to be homeless, but there is another component of domestic abuse that should be discussed,” he added.
He said there are great resources for LGBTQ people struggling at this time, including in his own state, where online support groups have been formed for transgender people.
GLMA’s Nass echoed the need for resources for LGBTQ people. He said the organization has renewed its call for health services, federal agencies and programs to be open to all communities, including LGBTQ.
“It’s a huge first step for a lot of organizations, especially those who have not seen this as a priority in the past,’” he said.
Clinton of the Transgender Health and Wellness Center said she’s been focusing on keeping the LGBTQ connected through Facebook groups and private Zoom chats that allow young people in the community to come together while staying safe.
“LGBTQ kids are struggling right now,” she said.
Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
For over 45 years, The Parliament House has called Orange Blossom Trail our home. We have to announce that our home at its current location will be closing Monday, November 2, 2020. We put up a good fight over the last 11 months to secure financing and renovate our existing property.
Unfortunately, that fight ended today with no deal. Our “Last Dance” at 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail will be this Sunday, November 1, 2020.
We have so many memories on “The Trail.” We will never forget New Year’s Eve when Miss P arrived in the courtyard dangling from a helicopter. Our community showed up in thousands to celebrate marriage equality in the United States.
We gathered to mourn the loss of our friends at Pulse Nightclub. We came out for countless concerts, pageants, plays, musicals and events. We celebrated Miss Vickie’s 70th Birthday with one of the biggest shows in our history.
We hosted the Footlight Players reunion shows to commemorate the immeasurable talent that has graced our stage. The list is never ending. Through it all, we’ve remained the Parliament House. It has never been about the building. It’s about the people.
The owners say they are seeking a new location. As longtime readers of this here website thingy may recall, the Parliament House was my first gay bar and back when Orlando was a much smaller city, it was for decades the uncontested epicenter of gay life in central Florida. When my mother finally asked me if I was gay, her second question was whether I went to the Parliament House. I could probably write a book just about my hundreds of nights there.
PHOTOS: Built in the 1960s as part of a small regional hotel chain of the same name, what later became the show bar was first a restaurant called Baron Of Beef. Later the Parliament House billed itself as “the world’s largest all-gay resort.” As far I can tell, it really was.
Myeshia Price-Feeney, PhD, a research scientist at The Trevor Project, said: “Asexual youth are often forgotten in both research and outreach efforts, so we’re hoping to provide much-needed data on this important group of youth.”
Ace youth in the survey often used other words as the main descriptor of their orientation, for example “romantic attraction labels such as panromantic, biromantic, and aromantic”, said Price-Feeney, which suggests “a desire to represent their sexuality in more nuanced ways”.
Asexual young people were also more likely to be trans or non-binary. While overall a quarter of LGBT+ youth surveyed said they were trans or non-binary, and nine percent were questioning whether they were, 41 per cent of ace youth identified as trans or non-binary, and 13 per cent were questioning.
Worryingly, the data also showed that ace youth were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety compared to LGBT+ youth overall.
Price-Feeney said: “With asexual youth reporting rates of depression and anxiety at rates higher than LGBT+ youth who are not asexual, efforts must be made to include asexual youth in suicide prevention and intervention efforts.”
The US airforce has finally granted an honourable discharge to a trans veteran whose life was marred by mental illness, homelessness, unemployment and drug use.
In 1984 Kelly Katherine Roser’s exemplary military career was upended by a one-time positive drug test for marijuana, which she used as a form of self-medication for the distress of her gender dysphoria.
For years she battled with the shame of her discharge, until now. At 59 years old, Roser has finally received the full honours she earned.
“Soldiers don’t fight for the flag or the Constitution – they fight for other soldiers. When you let them down, it is the worst feeling in the world,” she told the Daily News.
“Even with an honourable discharge, I may have failed at life but I am worthy to stand in their ranks.”
Roser struggled with her gender identity from the age of 13, but was unable to articulate her feelings. “I wanted to scream that I was a woman,” she said, “but the only answer I had was that I wanted to join the Air Force to make me a man. That didn’t quite turn out as expected.”
In her search for a sense of belonging Roser enlisted in the military in 1977. She was quickly promoted to the rank of staff sergeant, but still couldn’t shake the feeling there was something wrong inside.
As her emotional problems began to surface she was belittled by lower ranks and disrespected by her peers. She became prone to mental outbursts, which were met with “confusion and laughter” by her fellow airmen.
A psychiatric evaluation determined no problems and made no mention of gender dysphoria, which wasn’t commonly diagnosed at the time. Roser was unable to reach her full potential because the Air Force entirely missed the reason for her deteriorating mental state, her attorneys say.
“It is no surprise that Ms Roser’s mental health problems continued until they reached a breaking point,” they said in their legal brief, as seen by the Daily News. “This happened time and time again, and the end result was always the same.”
To cope, trans veteran Roser self-medicated with alcohol and, in her private quarters on base, cross-dressed and smoked marijuana.
“When I got my general discharge my life was over,” said Roser, who now struggles with vivid nightmares, bipolar depression and PTSD. “I wish I could have had a military career but, if I couldn’t have been a female, it would have been destructive.”
Her trauma only continued after she left the Air Force. Her emotional outbursts caused her to be fired from more than two dozen jobs, and she attempted suicide three times.
The pressure only eased when she transitioned in 2012. Now after decades of struggle, the final burden of her military discharge has also been lifted.
In a highly competitive race for an open congressional seat in Texas, the National Republican Congressional Campaign’s anti-trans attacks on lesbian candidate Gina Ortiz Jones continue, now with a TV ad citing a 2018 quote from her in the Washington Blade in support of gender reassignment surgery for transgender service members.
The new ad that went online Tuesday criticizes Jones — a first-generation Filipino-American who served as an intelligence officer in the Air Force during the Iraq war — for supporting closure of military bases in Texas to save costs, raising the question of where she would rather have that money spent.
“For what?” a male narrator asks in a voiceover. “Jones wants the Defense Department to pay for transgender reassignment surgeries, reassigning the military a new mission, helping Jones use our money to radicalize our country.”
The ad ends with a lock and chain clicking into place superimposed over a black-and-white image of Jones and a scrolling image behind her of blood-red tinted money within an outline of the continental United States.
The sources attributed for Jones’ comments are an August 2017 article in the San Antonio Express as well as an October 2018 interview in the Washington Blade. At the time, Jones criticized her then-opponent, incumbent Rep. Will Hurd, for voting for an amendment that would have barred the use of military funds to pay for transition-related care for transgender people, including gender reassignment surgery.
(The amendment ended up being defeated on the House floor, but President Trump later banned transgender military service altogether with an announcement on Twitter.)
Jones at the time criticized Hurd for voting for the anti-trans amendment, citing it as hypocrisy on the basis he claims to support national security “and then takes votes like that that undermine military readiness.”
“As someone that’s served in the military and under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ I know that if one person on that team is not 100 percent, that unit is not 100 percent and the mission is at risk, so this is now an issue of military readiness,” Jones said.
It’s not the first time the NRCC has made an anti-LGBTQ attack on Jones. The NRCC has previously run an ad that says Jones “doesn’t care about Texas” and slams her for wanting to “divert military money for transgender re-assignment surgeries.”
The NRCC also put on a website for potential lines of attack against Democrats a picture of Jones and her partner holding champagne glasses, an attempt to paint her as a Washington political insider. Initially, the post included an explicit reference to Jones having a same-sex partner, but that has since been removed.
Major medical groups, including the American Medical Association, have concluded gender reassignment surgery can be medically needed care for transgender people and have backed transgender military service.
The NRCC didn’t respond to the Blade’s request for comment on why the Republican political action committee thought the attack line in the ad was appropriate.
The race between Jones and her Republican opponent, Tony Gonzales, is incredibly tight in the days leading up to Election Day. An Oct. 7 poll from Public Opinion Strategies found Jones has a 1-point lead in the race, which is well within the margin of error.
Rebecca Marques, Texas state director for the Human Rights Campaign, condemned the ad in a statement as “desperate, cheap, and beneath even them,” citing a poll showing 88 percent of Texas likely voters support transgender people having equal access to medical care.
“Their closing argument in Texas appears to be not just attacking LGBTQ people but our nation’s veterans and military,” Marques said. “This isn’t just ineffective, it’s counter to the 88 percent of Texas voters who believe transgender people should have equal access to medical care as any other Texan. If the NRCC were smart, they would realize that even Texas Republicans are turned off by their disgusting strategy.”
An LGBTQ activist in Puerto Rico regained access to his verified and personal Facebook pages on Wednesday after being banned for more than two months.
Pedro Julio Serrano was unable to access his Facebook pages since late August, both platforms comprising of more than 140,000 followers in total. He was alerted he violated community guidelines and “pretending to be a well-known person or public figure.”
Serrano is not aware of violating any guidelines and wasn’t pretending to be a public figure. At the time, he was the sole administrator of his pages but added two users on Wednesday to act as administrators in case another ban occurs.
Serrano since August emailed Facebook weekly, directly messaged the platform’s accounts on Twitter and Instagram and submitted multiple forms of identification to regain access.
“(My) platform is critical for me to continue to lead a movement in Puerto Rico to make sure that LGBTQ people are treated fairly,” he told the Washington Blade.
Facebook is heavily used in Puerto Rico, he said, and Statista reported Facebook accounted for 80 percent of social media site visits on the island thus far in 2020.
In a message sent to Serrano from Facebook, the platform wrote the suspension was a “mistake.”
“We rely on automation that detects violations of Community Standards as well as 15,000 human content reviewers, but occasionally content is flagged or removed in error,” said a Facebook company spokesperson in an emailed statement when asked why Serrano was unable to access to his account for two months.
Kathleen Ruane, senior legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, said platforms like Serrano’s are integral to marginalized groups that seek to foster community. Ruane said they also assist in spreading messages in ways traditional media outlets cannot in terms of content and reach.
“Social media has been, even in spite of some of the challenges that queer communities and communities of color face, a democratizing force,” she said.
C Rivera, a trans activist from Puerto Rico has also experienced bans on their personal page, with six alone this year so far, all with varying time limits.
Rivera also helps lead “Boicot La Comay,” a Facebook page with more than 100,000 likes and followers that advocates for the cancellation of “La Comay,” a Puerto Rican gossip show that promotes racist, homophobic and misogynist stereotypes.
Vázquez and other members of her party are regular guests on the program that a life-sized puppet hosts. Serrano is among those who called for “La Comay” to be cancelled in June after it mocked Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, a lesbian woman of African descent who is running for the Puerto Rico Senate.
Authorities a few weeks after the segment aired arrested Serrano and charged him with two counts of marital sexual assault against his former partner. A judge last month dismissed the charges on grounds there was no probable cause to prosecute him.
State Rep. Brianna Titone, who made history in 2018 when she became the first transgender lawmaker in Colorado, is now running for her second term. But while her platform focuses on the bread-and-butter issues of transportation, education and jobs, her opponents have targeted her gender identity.
The group Take Back Colorado released a Facebook ad this month that misgenders Titone and refers to her by her “deadname,” the name she used before her transition. The ad also claims Titone has “always supported violence” and sexualizes children.
“It’s just a nasty, transphobic ad that’s blatantly full of lies,” Titone told NBC News.
Take Back Colorado is registered to Joe Neville, the brother of Patrick Neville, the Republican state House minority leader. When questioned by The Denver Post, Patrick Neville denied the ad was transphobic, saying it simply showed “the facts.”
Titone said the strategy backfired. She raised $11,000 in the 36 hours after the ad ran —about 20 percent of all online contributions to her campaign this cycle — and said she now had contributions from 43 out of 50 states.
“I’m getting support from places all over the country now,” she said. “People recognized that there was a group of people trying to beat up someone who is doing a really good job.”
Titone is not the only target of anti-LGBTQ political ads. Many LGBTQ candidates this cycle have been subjected to such attacks, prompting advocates to worry that it has become a trend.
“The homophobic and transphobic attacks on LGBTQ candidates are more frequent and more direct than we have seen in at least a decade,” said former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who now runs the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a national organization that trains and promotes LGBTQ political candidates.
“The dog whistles of the last few cycles are still prominent, but they are secondary to more direct and blatant uses of anti-LGBTQ stereotypes that weaponize our sexualities in an effort to derail campaigns,” Parker added. “LGBTQ candidates are being falsely called ‘pedophiles,’ ‘sexual predators’ and ‘drug users.’ They are being told they are ‘deplorable’ and should ‘go to church.’ They are being misgendered. And their dating histories — including their use of dating apps — have become the targets of opponents.”
Many of the attacks are happening in close races in competitive districts, like Titone’s.
“My race was one of the hardest races to win in 2018, and I’m a top targeted seat in the House right now,” Titone said of the Colorado House of Representatives.
Gabriele Magni, an assistant professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, said homophobic and transphobic attack ads “can be especially powerful and especially hurtful in districts that are not very progressive to start with.”
“They can bring out fear in the electorate,” Magni said. “It’s from an old playbook … trying to create fear about what can happen if transgender people are in office, or if people who are allies with transgender people are in office.”
Magni added that anti-LGBTQ attack ads are actually “validation of the strength and competitiveness of LGBTQ candidates.”
Gina Ortiz Jones, who’s running in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, has been the subject of attacks funded by the National Republican Campaign Committee. The committee ran an ad last week implying that Jones, a U.S. Air Force veteran, would put military “patriots out of work” so she could “divert military money for transgender reassignment surgeries.”
In August, HuffPost reported that the committee had been encouraging outside groups to remind Texas voters in Jones’ swing district about her sexual orientation.
“The national fundraising arm of the Republican Party has declared war on LGBTQ candidates this election cycle — and homophobia and transphobia are their weapon of choice,” Parker said. “It is despicable that Republicans would attack a military veteran simply because she believes the trans soldiers who risked their lives beside her deserve fair treatment when they return home.”
Jon Hoadley, an openly gay congressional candidate in Michigan, has been the subject of an attack ad from the Congressional Leadership Fund, a PAC dedicated to electing Republicans to Congress, that has been criticized as homophobic. The ad makes reference to Hoadley’s sexual history and calls his judgment “disturbing.” Hoadley is running against an incumbent Republican, Fred Upton, who has not denounced the advertisement.
The ad drew from Hoadley’s personal blog that he kept in his early 20s. On the now-deleted blog, Hoadley wrote about going to a gay bar and mentioned “a four year old wearing a thong” in a post about a friend’s wedding. Hoadley has apologized in a Facebook video for any misunderstanding stemming from the posts.
Chris Pack, a spokesperson for the National Republican Campaign Committee, defended the ads.
Holding Hoadley accountable for “his disgusting comments about toddlers in thongs has nothing to do with his sexual orientation,” Pack told NBC News, “and the same is true regarding Gina Jones wanting to divert money from the military to foot the bill for transgender reassignment procedures.”
Personal attacks on LGBTQ candidates can also occur in progressive strongholds.
Ritchie Torres, who is a shoo-in to win his seat in New York’s 15th Congressional District and become the first Afro-Latinx LGBTQ person in Congress, was called derogatory names on social media that many interpreted to be homophobic.
Torres was called a “first class whore” in a now deleted tweet by Ed Mullins, an officer with the New York Police Department and president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association.
The comments came after Torres criticized the NYPD amid an increase in gun violence. Mullins said his comments “had nothing to do” with Torres’ “race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”
“My comments had everything to do with his dangerous policies and worldview,” Mullins stated. “The city is burning and Councilman Torres wants to blame the police.”
Magni said attacks like this are not surprising. He said that many of the attacks this cycle are “based on homophobic tropes” that cast gay men as promiscuous or sexual predators.
“American voters are OK with LGBTQ candidates if LGBTQ candidates are sexless,” Magni said.
Despite Torres’ near guaranteed win in November, personal attacks could still have a negative impact.
“The way homophobic attacks work in progressive strongholds … is by hurting candidates in an indirect way,” Magni said. “Some of these attacks isolate LGBTQ candidates and force some allies to distance themselves.”
Like-minded organizations might put endorsements on hold or volunteers and donors may pause contributions, causing LGBTQ candidates to “lose access to resources and allies that are needed at critical moments,” Magni added.
For example, openly gay Illinois state House candidate Ken Mejia-Beal has been subjected to comments from his opponent, Republican Rep. Amy Grant, that target his race and sexuality.
On a recorded fundraising call over the summer, Grant said, “That’s all we need is another person in the Black Caucus.” She went on to say: “I just think that maybe he’s afraid of the reaction that people might give him. Not because he’s Black, but because of the way he talks. He’s all LGBTQ.”
Equality Illinois, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, condemnedthe remarks as “racist and homophobic.”
Grant subsequently apologized, saying she “deeply regret[s] the comments” and added that they “do not reflect my heart or my faith.”
Mejia-Beal, however, does not buy Grant’s apology and said she’s out of touch with the people in his district. “She is not a nice person,” he said, adding that Grant’s comments reflect racist and bigoted beliefs.
Grant’s campaign also circulated a mailer insinuating that Mejia-Beal was connected to a cover-up of a sexual assault over a decade ago.
“Right out of the gate, when she started attacking me, I didn’t understand where it was coming from,” Mejia-Beal said. “When I heard the audio, that’s when I had the a-ha moment.”
Mejia-Beal’s opponents may have perceived his candidacy as more vulnerable to attacks because of his multiple marginalized identities.
Magni recently conducted research exploring voters’ reactions to LGBTQ candidates and found that gay men — particularly Black gay men — were the most likely to be penalized by voters.
“In the U.S., Black candidates are penalized more than white candidates for being gay, in addition to the separate, individual penalties that they face for sexual orientation and race,” he said.
He added that this penalty “does not come from Black voters.” When compared to white voters, he added, “Black voters are now more supportive overall of LGBTQ candidates, since LGBTQ candidates tend to be Democrats.”
Personal attacks can also threaten LGBTQ candidates’ personal safety.
Jenna Wadsworth, an openly bisexual candidate for North Carolina’s commissioner of agriculture, received rape and death threats after posting a TikTok video criticizing President Donald Trump, according to the Advocate.
Todd Gloria, a member of the California State Assembly and candidate for mayor in San Diego, also received threats of physical violence that his campaign said were incited by his opponent, fellow Democrat Barbara Bry.
Gloria came under criticism after he voted for SB 145, a bill that addresses anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the application of the sex offender registry.
“We have reported the threats to the San Diego Police Department, and they are currently investigating,” Gloria said in a statement. “While I refuse to let this paralyze our campaign, voters deserve to know that this is what Barbara Bry’s campaign is inspiring. Her campaign is bringing out the worst of who we are. We are so much better than this, and San Diegans should hold her and her campaign accountable this November.”
Bry’s campaign disputed Gloria’s claims and stressed that Bry is a “long-time supporter of LGBTQ rights.”
“While she disagrees with Todd Gloria on the issue of requiring those convicted of sexual assault on children to be placed on the state’s sex offender registry, regardless of sexual orientation, her campaign has never raised this issue in campaign advertising,” Tom Shepard, Bry’s campaign consultant, told NBC News in an email. “This controversy is a result of verbal attacks on Gloria by a rival leader in San Diego’s LGBTQ community, who criticized Gloria’s vote on this issue.”
Targets of homophobic or transphobic ads may not even be LGBTQ. For example, the American Principles Project, a conservative think tank and PAC, released an ad targeting presidential candidate Joe Biden and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., alleging that they support “policies which would allow biological males to compete in women’s sports and push children into dangerous, life-altering sex-change” procedures.
Magni said such ads are designed to “galvanize the most conservative base,” so these voters turn out on Election Day. The idea is to depict Biden and Peters “as out-of-touch liberals who threaten ‘traditions,’” Magni said.
While a record number of LGBTQ candidates are running for office this year, some advocates fear anti-LGBTQ attacks could derail this progress.
“The last few election cycles we have seen the number of LGBTQ candidates increase dramatically, but this trend is not inevitable,” Parker said. “Already we are hearing from LGBTQ elected officials that they may not seek higher office because they don’t want to expose their loved ones and families to these deeply personal attacks.”
Magni said these attacks could have a long-lasting impact.
“The damage that is done is not only to candidates right now but the potential chilling effects among younger LGBTQ people who are thinking about running,” he said. “It’s not only about scrutiny. Their personal lives are going to be distorted. Their dating lives are going to be weaponized … It makes them think twice.”
For her part, Titone is determined to keep campaigning and support the presence of other transgender women in office.
“When you are only 1 of 4 transgender legislators in the whole county, representation matters,” Titone said. “We cannot take a step back in trans representation at this point.”
Another transgender American has died by violence, bringing this year’s total of trans or gender-nonconforming homicide victims in the nation to 33.
Sara Blackwood, 29, was shot around 10 p.m. Sunday in Indianapolis, The Indianapolis Starreports. She died shortly afterward at a local hospital.
Police said she was apparently walking home from work when she was shot, Indianapolis TV station WXIN reports. She had worked at a Kroger grocery store for several years, but she was on her way home from a different job, according to the station.
“She was very sweet and a very good person,” her friend Jimmy Johnson, a Kroger coworker, told the station. She provided excellent service to customers, he said. “She was very quick, so if they had a problem at the self-checkout, she would be right there,” he noted.
“The world at large is missing a very kind, responsible person,” Johnson added.
Activists mourned her death as well. “Six transgender women have been killed over the last 23 days — which is just over three weeks — in this country. This violence is heartbreaking and horrifying. It must end,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign’s Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a press release.
“We have already seen more trans and gender-nonconforming people killed this year since we began tracking these deaths in 2013, and the numbers continue to climb, even during a pandemic. We must all ask ourselves what each of us is doing to work to bring this violence to an end. We are mourning Sara’s loss along with her friends and family, including her domestic partner Avery, who are all in our thoughts. As we take time to remember Sara, we’ll keep fighting for the lives for all trans and gender-nonconforming people.”
With 33 homicides of trans people reported in the U.S., 2020 is the deadliest year since activists and media outlets began keeping records. The previous high was 31 in 2017. The number for any given year is likely higher, given that many victims are misgendered in death (as Blackwood initially was) or their deaths not reported at all.