A trans sex worker was violently stabbed by her client in São Paulo, Brazil, last Wednesday (September 2) and her body carelessly thrown out of a 7th-floor balcony.
Chiara Duarte, 27, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in Rua Rangel Pestana in the downtown Sé neighbourhood in the early morning, police said.
The suspect, they said, met Duarte and invited her to his apartment. But the night curdled into violence after she asked for payment, sparking a heated argument in which he stabbed her several times with a knife, local mediareported. A merchant, Jeferson Pereira, 18, was arrested by authorities charged with manslaughter after being found with two knives.
Duarte, who both lived at and volunteered with Casa Florescer II, a shelter for trans people, was remembered by her loved ones as simply someone who wanted to be “happy”.
“It was prejudice, it was a hate crime, transphobia,” her brother, Luan, toldGlobo News.
Mother of slain trans woman mourns of the loss of her ‘beautiful’ daughter.
Fala Mãe Londrina, a grassroots network for the mothers of LGBT+ people in Londrina, explained in a Facebook statement published September 4 that Duarte’s mother, who was unnamed, phoned up the shelter after learning of her daughter’s death.
“I want to make a wish for my daughter,” she told the shelter staffers, “my daughter is leaving with lipstick.
“She’s wearing a pink onesie and skirt. She looks beautiful. Needs lipstick, though.”
During Duarte’s funeral at São Luis Cemetery, the statement said, the victim’s mother reflected: “She looks beautiful, right?
“Look girl how beautiful she looks. Isn’t my daughter beautiful?”
Officers from Brazil’s state police agency Polícia Militar arrested Pereira after a witness said they saw him enter the apartment complex at the time of the killing.
In a nation now seemingly inured to homophobia, anti-LGBT+ violence has increased in Brazil in recent years, LGBT+ watchdogs warn. Last year, Brazil was found to be the deadliest country for trans people, with some tallies suggesting that a trans person dies almost every day in a nation of 200 million.
In the midst of a worsening pandemic and with record numbers of Americans unemployed, the president and his administration have focused their attention on something else entirely — giving federally funded shelters a license to discriminate against transgender people.
Under the Obama administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) implemented and strengthened a policy known as the Equal Access Rule to guarantee that HUD-funded shelters are open to all Americans, specifically putting protections in place to ensure trans individuals can seek accommodations that correspond to their gender identity.
Now, at a time when access to safe housing is absolutely vital, HUD is advancing a rule change that would enshrine anti-trans discrimination in federal regulations. This senseless policy needlessly puts lives at risk, and it’s critical that the American people speak out about why this rule change is dangerous and contrary to our values.
On July 24, HUD published its proposed rule change and initiated a public comment period that will run through Sept. 22. In an announcement made on July 1, HUD claims, “the proposed rule modifications also better accommodate religious beliefs of shelter providers.” HUD cites no evidence that the existing rule is placing an undue burden on faith-based shelter providers. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request in 2017, HUD was unable to locate any requests for waivers or accommodations or complaints made while the Obama-era Equal Access Rule protections were in place.
HUD has indicated that it will not recognize the recent landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County which affirmed that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects the LGBTQ community from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, and is pressing forward with this discriminatory rule.
HUD has also perpetuated the dangerous myth that protecting transgender people’s access to accommodations that reflect their gender identity puts others at risk without citing a shred of evidence. In the text of the proposed rule itself, HUD admits that it is not aware of any data suggesting that transgender individuals pose an inherent risk to biological women. Nondiscrimination protections have been in place for years in more than 20 states and 300 localities with no increase in public safety issues.
These are simply bad faith arguments by HUD Secretary Ben Carson, someone who has openly denigrated transgender women as “big, hairy men” in front of his own agency staff. The rule is more of the same, allowing shelter staff to judge the physical characteristics of those seeking services to decide who is sufficiently male or sufficiently female. His long history of vitriol toward the LGBTQ community and determination to press forward with this deeply anti-trans policy is a total departure from the mission of HUD, “to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.”
The right to safe housing should never be obstructed by the political or social beliefs of others. But even worse, this anti-transgender proposal directly targets a group that has historically and disproportionately suffered from the hardships of homelessness. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, nearly one-third of transgender people experience homelessness at some point in their lives and 70 percent reported mistreatment in shelter due to their gender identity.
Removing these protections puts individuals living in states without protections at risk of being left on the streets. The consequences are often dire when a transgender individual is turned away from an emergency shelter.
While I have introduced legislation in the House to block this rule, the most immediate step we can all take is to speak out against this dangerous and discriminatory policy. It is critical that the public submit comments — which you can do here — urging the Trump-Pence White House and HUD to abandon this reckless proposed regulation.
In August, I led 144 of my colleagues in the House and Senate in a public comment letter to Secretary Carson demanding that this rule be rescinded.
We need to fight this policy like trans lives depend on it — because they do.
Jennifer Wexton is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Virginia’s 10th District. Follow her on Twitter: @RepWexton.
A group of transgender activists are working to open a shelter for homeless trans and gender non-conforming people in New Orleans.
Milan Nicole Sherry, co-director of House of Tulip, told the Washington Blade on July 27 during an interview at her Uptown New Orleans home that she expects the shelter will open in the city next spring or summer.
“We wanted to create a forever home for our community, a space where there were no barriers, a space where they could actually come and get the resources that they need, get the love and nurturing that they need,” said Sherry as her husband, Za’hair Martinez, listened.
Sherry and Mariah Moore, a trans activist who also lives in New Orleans, first came up with the idea that became House of Tulip — Tulip is an acronym that stands for Trans United Leading Intersectional Progress — earlier this year after the coronavirus pandemic largely shut down the city’s hospitality and tourism industries.
“Many of the folks within our community, specifically transgender and non-conforming people who work in the service industry in New Orleans found themselves at risk of losing their jobs,” said Sherry.
House of Tulip Treasurer Dylan Waguespack is also the president of Louisiana Trans Advocates’ board of directors.
Waguespack and three other activists in March created the TGNC Peoples COVID Crisis Fund of Louisiana to help trans and gender non-conforming people in Louisiana pay for food, medication and housing during the pandemic. The fund has raised more than $20,000, but Sherry told the Blade it soon became clear the lack of housing in New Orleans was a long-term problem.
House of Tulip on its website notes a third of trans people in Louisiana “report experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development notes the average rent for an apartment in the New Orleans metropolitan area during the first quarter of this year was $1,110 a month. The U.S. Census notes New Orleans has a 24.6 percent poverty rate.
Sherry noted poverty rates are even higher among the city’s Black trans residents. She also told the Blade they are more vulnerable to discrimination and violence because of their gender identity.
Louisiana’s hate crimes law includes sexual orientation, but not gender identity. Two Black trans women — Draya McCarty and Shakie Peters — were found dead earlier this summer in Baton Rouge and Amite City respectively.
“There’s no reason why, even in 2020, that we are seeing the amount of homelessness that we’re seeing in community,” Sherry told the Blade. “There’s no reason why in 2020 we should still be seeing the amount of violence that we’re seeing in this community, but we’re here and this is where we’re at.”
Sherry said GED and job training programs and access to mental health care are among the additional services to which House of Tulip clients will have access.
“This is not just providing folks with just housing,” she said, noting Tulip in the shelter’s name stands for Trans United Leading Intersectional Progress.
The GoFundMe campaign that House of Tulip has launched has thus far raised $412,995. More than 7,000 people have donated to the effort.
“Community has always taken care of community; we have done it since 50 years ago when Stonewall first started,” said Sherry. “Community has always taken care of community; even through times of pandemic, even through a time of Trump … we’ve always shown up for one another, so I’m not surprised that this community has really shown up once again and yet again.”
‘I have nothing to lose, but everything to gain’
Sherry, 29, grew up on New Orleans’ West Bank with nine siblings.
She told the Blade she grew up in a “dominantly male household.”
“I grew up with dealing with a lot of misogyny, toxic masculinity and things of that nature,” said Sherry.
Sherry in 2009 graduated from high school. Sherry the following year became a founding member of BreakOut!,a group that, among other things, works to end police harassment of LGBTQ youth.
“There was literally a time here in New Orleans where you could not walk down the street as a Black trans woman without literally being snatched off of the streets and then thrown into jail and charged with solicitation of prostitution, crimes against nature,” she said. “It was so easy to target and literally harass our community.”
Sherry further noted “as a trans woman, even in my moments where I could have gotten damn near the dog shit beaten out of me, I will not call the police because I had known just from experience … that calling the police did not work out in our best interests.”
“So police, you know, were just never our friends,” she added.
Sherry celebrated her 29th Birthday on July 23.
She told the Blade she was unable to celebrate previous Birthdays because she either could not afford it or was in jail. Sherry also noted a Black trans woman’s average life expectancy is 35 years.
“I have never envisioned myself where I am today,” she said. “To be honest I didn’t expect myself to be alive.”
Sherry said she lived on Tulane Avenue eight years ago with other trans women and sex workers. Sherry told the Blade she and other tenants paid their rent by the week.
“Literally when I say I have nothing to lose and everything to gain, I have nothing to lose, but everything to gain,” she said.
Sherry, who lives with HIV, told the Blade she has also struggled with addiction and mental health issues.
“If I wanted to be a bitch, I can justify about all of the trauma and just, but when you know better you do better,” she said. “I’m not going to cause the same harm that’s been caused over and over and over again.”
Martinez, a native of St. Augustine, Fla., who describes himself as a “trans masculine man,” praised his wife and Moore for their work on House of Tulip. Martinez also applauded trans women who supported him in his life.
“They are the ones who paved the way for me to be Za’hair,” he said. “It’s only right for me to follow the leadership of my wife and Mariah and to have their back.”
JK Rowling refuted allegations that she is transphobic while returning a Ripple of Hope award to the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation.
Rowling announced she is giving back the honour after Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late senator and president of the human rights nonprofit, shared her “profound disappointment” in the author’s remarks on trans rights.
Kerry Kennedy released a statement on August 3, eight months after Rowling received the award for her work on behalf of children. She joined previous honourees including Barack Obama, Desmond Tutu and Hillary Clinton.
“I have spoken with JK Rowling to express my profound disappointment that she has chosen to use her remarkable gifts to create a narrative that diminishes the identity of trans and non-binary people, undermining the validity and integrity of the entire transgender community,” she wrote, citing Rowling’s tweets and essay on trans lives, as well her liking a tweet “that opposed a bill to ban conversion therapy”.
Kennedy rejected what she understands Rowling’s position to be: that sex as assigned at birth “is the primary and determinative factor of one’s gender, regardless of one’s gender identity”.
“The science is clear and conclusive: Sex is not binary,” she continued.
“Trans rights are human rights. JK Rowling’s attacks upon the transgender community are inconsistent with the fundamental beliefs and values of RFK Human Rights and represent a repudiation of my father’s vision.”ADVERTISING
JK Rowling can’t keep Robert Kennedy award in good conscience.
In response, Rowling wrote Thursday (August 27): “The statement incorrectly implied that I was transphobic, and that I am responsible for harm to trans people.
“As a longstanding donor to LGBT charities and a supporter of trans people’s right to live free of persecution, I absolutely refute the accusation that I hate trans people or wish them ill, or that standing up for the rights of women is wrong, discriminatory, or incites harm or violence to the trans community.”
She continued by repeating her claim that she “feels nothing but sympathy towards those with gender dysphoria”, and her baseless allegation that “an ethical and medical scandal is brewing” regarding gender-affirming therapies.
Rowling ended her statement by disagreeing with the Kennedy organisation’s stance on trans rights: that they do not clash with women’s rights.
“The thousands of women who’ve got in touch with me disagree, and, like me, believe this clash of rights can only be resolved if more nuance is permitted in the debate.”
She concluded: “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience.”
Hundreds of Black trans people lost to violence have been honoured in a powerful street mural painted by local artists in Chicago.
The words ‘Black Trans Lives Matter’ stretch across the street in Catalpa Avenue, Andersonville. It was created by 22 artists or art groups, with the help of neighbours who donated $4,000 to pay the artists for their time and materials.
Last weekend the whole community came together to add names and portraits to the artwork, giving faces to those who have died.
“It is vital that when folks see that Black Trans Lives Matter [mural] they understand the context of why it matters,” said David Oakes of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, speaking to Block Club Chicago.
Each participating artist decorated an individual letter in the mural. One artist, Bailey Funk, painted the words “say their names” in the letter B, prompting the chamber to consider giving more prominence to the names of the dead.
Now the names encircle the mural, each one colour-coded to give context to the deaths.
The names in pink are people whom police killed in the last five years, while the names in yellow identify unarmed people of colour killed by police since 1975. More names are being added this week, according to the chamber.
Among those honoured in portraits are Merci Mack, a Black trans woman killed by a gunshot to the head, Tony McDade, a Black trans man shot by police, and Marsha P Johnson, a Black queer rights activist instrumental in the Stonewall uprising of 1969.
“Transgender women of colour were leaders in LGBT+ activism and throughout time, but they have been erased,” Laura Austin, associate director of the Andersonville chamber, said in a statement.
“We wanted to give them space. We wanted to make them a priority. It is long overdue.”
The Black Lives Matter movement gave rise to several memorials to the trans community, including a huge art installation on Hollywood Boulevard. Last week it was announced that the huge letters reading ‘All Black Lives Matter’ will remain there permanently.
Steven King, a popular content creator on the social media platform TikTok, said he stumbled across the video-sharing app by accident early last year.
“I saw an advertisement for what I thought was an app that could put your selfies into motion” he said. “I downloaded it, and two days later I was posting my first video.”
King, 47, started by sharing videos about his day, his relationship with his husband and what clothes he wanted to wear. They must have resonated because his following started to grow — all the way to 3 million as of this week.
“The amount of people that are seeing my face, that are engaging with these videos I’m creating,” he said, “really put me in awe.”
King, now a verified creator on the platform, said he knew he was onto something when the comment sections on his page started to fill up with questions about coming out, LGBTQ relationships and confidence in one’s own identity.
“When I joined TikTok, there was definitely the sense that it was a young-adult app,” he said, and “I knew right away that these were teenagers asking, and I had a responsibility.”
So in February 2019, King, who lives in Arizona, began doing livestreams where he would answer questions from his followers — many of them LGBTQ youth and young adults — and creating videos to share his advice and aspects of his life story, from his 24-year relationship to his sobriety.
“The traumas that we suffer from as we grow have a huge impact on who we are as adults,” King said. “To be able to empathize and put myself back in the position that these teenagers are in, knowing where I came from and how I made it through, I just had to give back that information.”
With the help of the algorithm on its “For You” page, which feeds users curated content based on their previous interactions and “likes,” TikTok has helped LGBTQ content creators and audiences find one another on the platform. But some fear the queer community they helped foster on the social network may be in danger amid the face-off between TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, and the Trump administration.
Collins Onosike, a verified TikTok content creator, has amassed 4.4 million followers since joining the platform several years ago.
“My ‘For You’ page is full of queer people — I love it,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of friends on here; it’s really a happy place”
Onosike, who has built both his career and social group around TikTok, is among those who has been on edge amid the back and forth between the president and ByteDance.
“The thought of just losing it, just losing all of it is quite scary — for myself and other influencers,” he said.
Onosike, 20, joined TikTok in its early days when the app was still called Musical.ly. At first, he focused on dance and lip-sync videos, but he then pivoted to comedy skits where he often incorporates drag into his performances.
“I get a lot of comments saying, ‘Seeing the way you express yourself has given me the courage to be myself as well.’ It’s so cool to see the amount of power a video can give to someone else.”
For Sarah Schauer, the prospect of TikTok shutting down was like “having deja vu.”
“I was like, ‘Are you f—— kidding me? I’ve done this before,” said Schauer, who started her social media career on the now-defunct video-sharing platform Vine and lost 848,000 followers in one day when it shut down in 2017.
“I understand why everyone else was freaking out, but it was like ‘I had practiced for this,'” she said. “This time I would lose 1.2 million [followers].”
Schauer, who lives in Los Angeles, started posting on TikTok last year after hearing success stories of other creator accounts growing rapidly on the platform. She said she has found a supportive fan base on the app, where she shares point-of-view-style comedy videos.
“I didn’t do queer content when I was on Vine, because I came out later, but I’ve started to integrate it into my content now,” said Schauer, who is bisexual and estimates that her followers are about half queer and half straight.
Schauer, who said the platform’s large queer community is commonly referred to as “gay TikTok,” said the app’s algorithm is about discoverability — and goes far beyond LGBTQ-related content.
“I’ve seen so much Native American and native Hawaiian content. The disabled community can create videos about their situations,” she explained. “I’ve never seen their videos as much as I have now.”
‘We’ll find a way to do it again’
For Chris Olsen and Ian Paget, a gay couple who split their time between New York and Los Angeles, TikTok started as a place to watch videos and stay entertained amid the pandemic. But then in April, the duo started posting their own videos to the platform.
The American Civil Liberties Union in a press release notes the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled the Gloucester County School District’s policies that prohibited students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that did not correspond with their “biological gender” and denied them transcripts that correspond to their gender identity are unconstitutional. The 4th Circuit in its 2-1 decision also said the regulations violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Gavin Grimm was a sophomore at Gloucester County High School when he filed a federal lawsuit against the district’s bathroom policy.
The 4th Circuit in 2016 ruled in Grimm’s favor.
The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in his case in 2017, but the justices remanded it to the 4th Circuit after President Trump rescinded guidance to public schools that said Title IX requires them to allow trans students to use bathrooms based on their gender identity.
U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia last August ruled in favor of Grimm. The Gloucester County School District appealed the decision.
The 4th Circuit issued its decision two months after the Supreme Court in a landmark ruling said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The Supreme Court in 2019 declined to hear a case that challenged a Pennsylvania school district’s policy that allows trans students to use bathrooms based on their gender identity.
“All transgender students should have what I was denied: The opportunity to be seen for who we are by our schools and our government,” said Grimm in the ACLU press release. “Today’s decision is an incredible affirmation for not just me, but for trans youth around the country.”
ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Eden Heilman also welcomed the 4th Circuit ruling.
“For the last five years, Gavin has been fighting for transgender students to ensure no one else deals with the discrimination he faced in high school,” said Heilman. “The court rightfully stood with him to rule that trans students deserve to go to school with dignity, respect, and equal protection under the law.”
Trevor Project Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs Sam Brinton in a statement described the ruling as a “tremendous victory for transgender equality.”
“When transgender and non-binary students are denied access to school facilities or documents consistent with their gender identity, they are not only denied basic dignity and respect, but also fundamental human rights,” they said. “This decision reaffirms that anti-transgender discrimination is, in fact, illegal under the law.”
Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón and former U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) on Monday stressed the fight against HIV/AIDS remains a bipartisan issue.
“This is a health issue,” said González during a Zoom call that AIDS United organized. “This is not about a certain group of the community. This is not about a specific gender. This is about health care. This is about health.”
González is a Republican non-voting member of the U.S. House of Representatives who is a member of Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party. California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who chairs the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, late last year named González co-chair of the group.
González on Monday said more than 40,000 people in Puerto Rico live with HIV. She also noted she and Lee in March introduced a bill that would repeal laws that criminalize people with HIV/AIDS and discriminate against them.
“This is something that goes across party lines,” she said. “This is something that affects everybody … we should be doing something about it.”
Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Cuba, in 1989 became the first Latina woman elected to Congress. She represented portions of South Florida in the House until her retirement in 2019.
Ros-Lehtinen co-chaired the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus until Lee named González as her successor.
“Jenniffer understands the issue,” said Ros-Lehtinen on the call, referring to González.
Ros-Lehtinen acknowledged the HIV/AIDS pandemic has “heavily impacted” South Florida.
González herself announced hours after she participated in the AIDS United call that she had tested positive for coronavirus.
Ros-Lehtinen noted she and Lee had vastly different positions on a variety of issues, but “on this subject and on many other subjects, there are no party labels.”
“You have the disease, there’s no discrimination,” said Ros-Lehtinen.
“I believe in equality,” she said. “I’m living in Puerto Rico where 3.2 million Americans are disenfranchised. They cannot vote for president. They cannot vote for their senators. They don’t have equal representation in Congress. I can’t be selecting how equality is going to be defined or what issues are equal or what not.”
“Equality is equality,” added González. “Health care is equality and in that sense I should be representing my island and all the people, including the people with HIV.”
The AIDS United call coincided with the first day of the Republican National Convention.
President Trump in his 2019 State of the Union address vowed to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic within a decade. Advocates with whom the Blade spoke at the time expressed skepticism and noted, among other things, Trump in 2017 abruptly fired all members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS without explanation.
The Trump administration’s record on LGBTQ rights issues has been sharply criticized. Outgoing Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced, who is a member of González’s party, has also faced intense criticism from activists in the U.S. commonwealth and elsewhere over her administration’s LGBTQ rights record.
Ros-Lehtinen on the call noted former Vice President Biden, like Trump, has also pledged to end the HIV epidemic.
“This is a human issue,” said Ros-Lehtinen. “It’s not a Republican problem or a Democratic problem. We’ve got to come together to solve it.”
AIDS United President Jesse Milan, Jr., who has lived with HIV for 38 years, agreed.
“Ending this epidemic is clearly a bipartisan issue,” he said.
A group of hard-right religious-right leaders is hosting “America at the Crossroads: A 911 Call for Pastors,” which will be held at a resort near Dallas, Texas, at the end of the month. The event page describes the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 gathering as “three days of R & R, fellowship, food and training on Black Lives Matter, White Privilege, Critical Race Theory, Cultural Marxism, Covid-19 and the calls for Global Government!” Guests will be welcomed by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
“America at the Crossroads” is being organized by Liberty Pastors, which is led by the Oklahoma-based pastor Paul Blair, a right-wing nullification activist who urges state officials to ignore Supreme Court rulings like Roe v. Wade and Obergefell, the marriage equality ruling. Blair promotes the Christian reconstructionist idea that the Bible does not give the government authority to care for the poor: “There’s nowhere in the Bible where God commands the civil authority to use the sword to take from those who are working hard and then redistribute to those that simply refuse to work.”
Here’s more from the event’s registration page, which describes the event as sold out:
America is in peril! We see rioting in the streets with showing no regard for life or personal property. For the first time in America’s history, we intentionally collapsed our economy over a viral threat originating in Communist Red China. Mayors and Governors are demanding that Churches and businesses close, while abortion clinics, liquor stores and big box stores are open. People are gripped with fear, yet where is the Prophetic voice of Almighty God?
The event shows the extent to which conservative evangelical support for President Donald Trump has further blurred distinctions between what might have once been considered “mainstream” and fringe religious-right groups.
Blair and his clergy colleague Dan Fisher, who is also scheduled to speak at this month’s conference, are both on the organizing committee of Gone 2 Far, an aggressively anti-LGBTQ coalition launched last year with a press conference that smeared advocates for LGBTQ equality, including the late civil rights icon John Lewis.
He has supported anti-LGBTQ legislation in Uganda, Russia, and around the world. Last year he helped launch an extreme anti-LGBTQ group with comments charging that the transgender movement is really about promoting the “pedophilia agenda.” In 2015, he said homosexuality was worse than murder and genocide and warned that if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, it could lead to the rise of the Antichrist by the end of the year.
Lively recently told WND readers, “Reelecting President Trump is not a political choice but an act of self-defense for every American who loves the Holy Bible and the U.S. Constitution.”
Lively has also called for defiance of public health restrictions on churches, which he says are invalid because the church is a separate “sovereign.” Lively explained in an Aug. 10 WND column:
Government attempts to regulate church attendance and worship practices violate not only the law of our land, the US Constitution, they violate the law above the law, and because of that every Christian pastor should individually be in open defiance of restrictive “mandates” and collectively in active civil rebellion against the state and local governments issuing them.
While other churches and congregations might have acquiesced to the court’s illegitimate authority, I am not bound by their decisions, having newly established my own church totally independent of them. I have not registered First Century Bible Church with the government and have no intention to do so.
As an Ambassador of the Church of Jesus Christ I do not recognize the authority of the Supreme Court — an arm of the state — to legislate from the bench on church/state matters. It retains authority to regulate the state in church/state matters, but not the church.
Scheduled “America at the Crossroads” speakers include the following individuals:
Bob McEwen is a former member of Congress who heads the Council for National Policy, an influential and secretive network of right-wing officials and activist leaders.
E.W. Jackson, right-wing pastor and radio host and Republican nominee for Lt. Gov. in Virginia in 2013, said earlier this year that he sees no substantive difference between American progressives and the totalitarian regime in North Korea. Jackson has warned that a “homovirus” is devastating the family and American society. Jackson promised members of his congregation that God would prevent them from becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus and called Rep. Adam Schiff “treasonous” for suggesting a commission to examine the federal government’s response to the pandemic.
Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz and a religious-right activist, is an anti-LGBTQ zealot who has claimed falsely that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling—which he charged was the work of Satan—legalized marriage “between two men and a horse.” Rafael Cruz had supported his son’s presidential bid by saying that God had raised Ted up and that electing him would spare America from divine judgment. In 2016, he said that President Barack Obama had been trying to take people’s guns away as part of a plan to install a communist dictatorship.
Dan Fisher, who co-pastors Blair’s church, calls for “bringing back the Black Robed Regiment,” a reference to colonial-era pastors who mobilized support for the revolt against Great Britain. He served two terms in the state legislature before running unsuccessfully for governor in 2018 on a platform that including abolishing and criminalizing abortion and asserting state sovereignty to disobey “wrong” Supreme Court rulings. He drew just under 8 percent of the vote in the Republican primary.
Rick Scarborough called AIDS “God’s judgment on a sinful generation” and said that marriage equality is part of Satan’s effort to “destroy this country.” He falsely claimed that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling “made it unlawful and illegal for Christians to hold position” in government; years earlier he falsely claimed that the passage of the federal Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act in 2009 would “criminalize pastors and ordinary citizens who speak out biblically against homosexuality.” At the 2013 Values Voter Summit, he warned that “infidels” in the Obama administration were “hell-bent on silencing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” His Recover America Now has abandoned its plans to hold 75 gatherings across Texas this year and, according to the group’s website, has “entered into a partnership with the Jonathan Project to register and mobilize thousands of Christian Voters across America, targeting with special outreach Texas, Florida and North Carolina.” The Jonathan Project is a voter identification, registration and mobilization effort. RAN has hosted online calls with Jeffress, David Barton, Mat Staver, and others in an effort to maximize conservative Christian turnout this fall. Scarborough hosts a podcast that describes separation of church and state as a “myth.”
Two transgender teenagers are suing Arizona over its blanket ban on paying for transition-related healthcare for Medicaid recipients.
The claimants, 17-year-old D.H. and 15-year-old John Doe, are bringing a class-action lawsuit alleging that their civil rights are being violated by Arizona’s prohibition on transition-related surgeries.
Arizona is one of 10 states that explicitly bans coverage for transition-related treatments to transgender Medicaid recipients, according to Metro Weekly.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights filed the complaint against the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System on August 6.
“D.H. and John bring this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and similarly situated individuals to challenge Arizona’s categorical prohibition of coverage of medically necessary treatments for gender dysphoria, specifically, male chest reconstruction surgery,” the complaint reads.
The pair argue that top surgery is a medically necessary treatment for their gender dysphoria and that by denying them this healthcare, Arizona is causing them physical and psychological harm.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights argues that given the Supreme Court’s recent historic decision making it illegal to fire workers for being gay or trans, Medicaid’s ban on transgender healthcare constitutes sex discrimination.
The lawsuit comes a year after a Wisconsin judge ruled that Medicaid must cover transgender healthcare, including hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgeries such as chest surgery.
The US district judge made the ruling in the case of four trans Wisconsin residents, who were challenging a 1997 provision that excluded coverage of “transsexual surgery” for Medicaid recipients.
The judge ruled that the provision was discriminatory.
Lawsuit against Arizona’s Medicaid ban on transgender healthcare.
Both of the claimants in the case against Arizona currently wear binders.
D.H. started wearing a binder to flatten his chest aged 12. He says this helps with his gender dysphoria but significantly impairs his ability to function, with the pain and discomfort caused by wearing the binder interfering with his ability to focus on school and homework.
Both D.H.’s paediatrician and his therapist have recommended he get top surgery, but this was denied by Medicaid because in Arizona, there’s been a categorical ban on transition-related coverage since 1982.
John also wears a binder to alleviate his gender dysphoria, which according to the lawsuit is “tight and restrictive”.
“Even with the binder, John feels uncomfortable being outside without layers of clothing. He wears a hooded sweatshirt nearly every day, including in the summer.
“John’s chest also hinders his social interactions. For example, John wears his binder and a t-shirt when at the pool, often having to answer uncomfortable questions about why he insists on wearing a t-shirt in the water.”
John’s healthcare team have also recommended he get top surgery, which again he can’t because of Arizona’s ban on transition healthcare.
The lawsuit says: “Arizona disregards the transition-related health care needs of Medicaid’s transgender beneficiaries. In doing so, Arizona exposes transgender people to significant and avoidable harms to their health and well-being, in violation of the US Constitution and federal law.”
It alleges that Arizona’s ban violates two provisions of the Medicaid Act: that states must provide “early and periodic screening, diagnostic and treatment’ for individuals under 21 before medical conditions become more complex and treatments become more costly; and the act’s comparability requirements, which say that any medically necessary treatment that would be given to one individual cannot be arbitrarily denied to another.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is asking for the state to pay for the pair’s top surgeries now, before the court case begins.