|San Francisco Pride represents a community of people who choose to call the San Francisco Bay Area home. We have chosen to be here whether seeking safety in community or the possibilities of what our futures might hold. We are the community who championed our freedom to love. We are the community who uplifts the beauty and fullness of our gender and sexual orientation intersecting with our race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, disability – all of our identities. As we look among ourselves in community, we see that our work is to create a community where we feel welcomed and loved by each other even as we identify with seemingly opposed affinities.
Our hearts are heavy with grief for the Palestinians and Israelis whose lives have been damaged or destroyed by violence, whether physical, psychological, or emotional. In the magnitude of the conflict in Gaza, we must remember who we are as a community, both locally and globally. In these times of profound sorrow, we echo the cries of the world in calling for peace and unity. The continued war and genocide in Gaza are marked by tens of thousands of lives lost including many children. As urged by the United Nations and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, we urgently echo the call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all hostages.
As the SF Pride community, we know that living in and protecting our freedom to be, express, and love ourselves and each other are central to the community we co-create. Love is the answer. Love can be revolutionary and transformational. And in these times of war and violence, SF Pride calls for an immediate activation of a comprehensive plan for resolution, restoration, and reparation. We choose to lead for queer liberation with compassion and unity – to create and preserve safety for ourselves, for each other, and for our communities. Our liberation is an act of love, and our quest for collective freedom binds us to one another.
Dehumanization is rampant in our governments, media, and communities: we reject this. We are witness to the abuse of power in our communities: we reject this. We reject narratives that pit us against each other. Instead, we choose to turn to the love that we can foster together. In these challenging times, SF Pride will maintain that love and liberation must be interwoven in our pursuit of freedom. Our city, a sanctuary for the queer community, epitomizes the power of love and resilience in the face of global injustices.
Together, we are committed to building spaces of healing, understanding, and acceptance – a sanctuary that uplifts the fullness of our identities and makes space for us to live and love freely and without threat of harm and violence. SF Pride chooses to shine brightly as a symbol of hope and solidarity, united in our dance against injustice everywhere.
We believe we are a beacon for the world.
Let us be a Beacon of Love.
In three years, President Joe Biden’s nominations have helped to bring broader diversity to the federal judiciary — a body that has long been dominated by White cisgender men.
Now, Biden and Senate Democrats are poised to tie a record for confirmations of LGBTQ+ judges. If the Senate approves Judges Nicole Berner and Melissa DuBose, Biden will tie with former President Barack Obama’s record of appointing 11 openly LGBTQ+ lifetime judges to the federal bench. These confirmations would come at a time when more LGBTQ+ rights cases are being fought in courts across the country — and even making their way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“LGBTQ+ representation belongs everywhere, within all of our nation’s institutions in our system,” said Judi O’Kelley, co-interim executive director and chief program and policy officer for the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association. “We are very grateful that President Biden has been working to remedy the historic vast underrepresentation of LGBTQ+ people, including people with intersectional identities, on the federal bench.”
Berner would be the first openly LGBTQ+ judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit,which is currently considering two separate cases about government-sponsored insurance benefits for adults receiving gender-affirming care in North Carolina and West Virginia. The Senate Judiciary Committee recently advanced Berner’s nomination to the full Senate for a vote, which is expected to take place within the next few weeks.
Berner would be the third openly LGBTQ+ women to serve as a federal appellate court judge — all three of whom have been nominated by Biden, according to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a civil rights lobbying group.
DuBose would be the first openly LGBTQ+ judge, and the first person of color, on the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island. DuBose is currently awaiting her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.
Currently about 2 percent of Article III lifetime federal judges — 21 out of about 815 active judges — are openly queer, according to data from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Federal Judicial Center. No openly transgender or nonbinary judges have ever been nominated or confirmed to these prestigious positions.
Lena Zwarensteyn, senior director of the fair courts program at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said that the importance of having more out LGBTQ+ judges is twofold: It helps to build more public trust in the judiciary, and it brings needed perspective into courtrooms that have not had LGBTQ+ life experiences represented on the bench.
“I think it’s crucial right now,” she said. “I say that in the context,especially, of numerous bills that have been advanced to intentionally harm the LGBTQ community, particularly when we think about some of the bills that are attacking transgender youth in particular.”
Lawsuits over gender-affirming care bans for trans youth have reached the 6th and 11th Circuits, as lower courts across the country grapple with whether banning such medical care is likely unconstitutional on the grounds of the 14th Amendment. Lower courts have repeatedly found that such bans violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection and due process clauses, while several federal appeals courts have rebuked those lower-court decisions.
Many lawsuits over anti-LGBTQ+ laws or discriminatory policies are currently underway — particularly now that 22 states have banned gender-affirming carefor trans youth. Active challenges include one against Indiana’s gender-affirming care ban, now before the 7th Circuit, as well as a lawsuit against Texas’ care banbefore the state’s Supreme Court. In Oklahoma, another case against the state’s gender-affirming care ban is currently before the 10th Circuit.
Harper Seldin, a staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, is working on all of those cases. As more anti-LGBTQ+ bills are proposed in state legislatures, the ACLU and other civil rights groups are committed to challenging laws when they can, he said — though he feels that the courts are becoming increasingly hostile in certain areas of the country.
“It is becoming harder to educate courts on how these laws really prevent transgender people from living their lives on equal terms,” Seldin said. “Courts and judges are like everyone else, they’re affected by the media climate that they’re in. And so to the extent that that climate becomes more hostile to trans people, it becomes difficult, and impossible, I think, to wall off the courts from that.”
Judges have been increasingly following the precedent set by a recent 6th Circuit ruling that mandated gender-affirming care bans stay in place in Kentucky and Tennessee, Seldin said — even though they don’t have to. A 6th Circuit ruling is only binding for the handful of states in the court’s jurisdiction, and other states aren’t obligated to follow suit.
“For the moment, folks are looking to those decisions,” he said.
Until recent presidential administrations, representation of out LGBTQ+ federal judges was almost nonexistent. In 1994, Deborah A. Batts became the first openly queer federal judge in the country. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.
In 1994, Deborah A. Batts became the first openly queer federal judge in the country.
It would be another 17 years before J. Paul Oetken, appointed to the same court by Obama, became the second openly LGBTQ+ federal judge. Two judges — Vaughn Walker, appointed by President George W. Bush, and Martin Jenkins, appointed by Clinton — came out after they joined the federal judiciary.
Obama reached a record number of LGBTQ+ judges, with 11 of them confirmed over his eight years in office. President Donald Trump appointed two LGBTQ+ judges in four years and Biden currently has nine LGBTQ+ judges in three years.
Biden and Senate Democrats have also prioritized racial, gender and professional diversity in their nominees. Of Biden’s 164 confirmed judges, 104 of them are women, and a majority of those are women of color. Additionally, they have increased the number of judges with public defender and civil rights backgrounds.
With the rise of LGBTQ+ judges, more queer lawyers are expressing interest in positions on federal courts, said Kristin L. Rosi, president of the International Association of LGBTQ+ judges and the chief administrative law judge for the California Department of Insurance.
“I think that’s something on the table right now in a way that people did not feel was on the table in years past,” Rosi said.
Generally presidents set the tone for the kind of background and characteristics they look for in their judicial nominees. Some nominate judges within a particular age range; others tend to nominate judges with work experience as prosecutors or corporate lawyers. U.S. senators play a key role in recommending potential nominees from their state.
While recent additions to the federal judiciary are more reflective of the U.S. population, on the whole lifetime federal judges remain overwhelmingly White heterosexual cisgender men. More work needs to be done to expand diversity, experts told The 19th.
Part of that work requires intentional recruitment and training to maintain a pipeline of qualified legal professionals who are interested in public service, said Daniel Anders, a judge for the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas and the former president of the International Association of LGBTQ+ judges.
“If the pathways are not utilized, or not taken, then they tend to be overgrown and forgotten,” Anders said. “But, if every year or every term there are successful LGBT candidates who become judges, then the conversation will change to, ‘We value that diversity and we want to make sure that there’s LGBT representation on the court.’”
Networks like the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association aim to be part of the solution, O’Kelley of the association said. The bar association hosts sessions during its conferences that are focused on pathways to the judiciary. It also offers a program called the Nuts & Bolts Academy for Judicial Candidates. The academy provides mentoring and networking opportunities to candidates who are seriously interested in pursuing a judicial position within the next three years.
The education does not end with LGBTQ+ judicial candidates, however. The bar association also wants to provide cultural competency training to judges of all backgrounds with the hope of strengthening their ability to make fair decisions.
“Even with the increase in numbers that we’re talking about, I think we’re roughly talking about 2 percent of our Article III federal judges being LGBTQ+ identified,” O’Kelley said. “That’s a whole lot of other judges who we want to make sure are getting the education and the cultural competency that we need. Because we do look to them to be administering our laws fairly and on behalf of everyone.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Contestant Wins Libel Lawsuit After Being Called “Pedophile” By Right Wing TV Host
Laurence Fox has lost his libel case after calling two people including a former Drag Race contestant “paedophiles” on social media. The actor-turned-politician, who was fired by GB News late last year for highly misogynistic remarks, heard his comments labeled “harmful, defamatory and baseless” by a High Court judge this afternoon in London, according to the BBC.
Fox was sued by former RuPaul’s Drag Race UKcontestant Crystal and Simon Blake, a trustee of UK charity Stonewall, after referring to them as “paedophiles” on X, formerly Twitter. Fox has become outspoken over the past few years and has launched his own political party, Reclaim. Last year, his misogynistic rant on GB News’ Dan Wootton Tonight was the most-complained about TV show of the year to regulator Ofcom.
Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK star Crystal flaunted her libel court victory by dressing up as Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods for a Sky News interview. Speaking to Sky News, Seymour reflected on the court victory as “incredibly liberating and satisfying after three long years.”
“I think if I’d known at the outset that it was going to be three and a half years later and we’d still be talking about this I may have thought twice,” Seymour said.
Seymour continued: “But he’s a bully, and accusations of paedophilia against people in the queer community, against drag queens, are old, old tropes and I didn’t want to stand for it and let that slide.”
Fox is vowing to appeal. Of note, Dan Wooton is a notorious homocon who has appeared here for unrelated scandals. Fox ran a failed bid for London mayor in 2021 on an anti-vax platform, finishing with 1.9% of the vote.
Last week, a 52-year-old gay man was fatally shot in a Tampa dog park in what his friends are describing as a hate crime.
When he was shot, the victim had reportedly just had a run-in with another man who had allegedly been harassing him at the park for months, repeatedly threatening him and hurling homophobic slurs.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that the day before a man fatally shot John Walter Lay – known as Walt – Lay recorded a video of himself speaking directly to the camera, explaining, “So this morning while I’m walking — and we’re the only two here — (the gunman) comes up to me and screams at me, ‘You’re going to die, you’re going to die,’ and I asked him to just leave me alone, and so far he has.”
Friends of Lay told The Tampa Bay Times that the next morning, at the same park and at about the same time , the man shot Lay dead.
A local sheriff’s office have confirmed that 65-year-old Gerald Declan Radford was the shooter. He claims he shot Lay in self-defence. However, his friends don’t agree that would have been the case.
“In my opinion, there’s no way in hell this is really self-defense,” said Albert Darlington, 68, who was Lay’s friend and landlord. “For over a year, Dec has done nothing but harass Walt. He screams and hollers and calls him a f—-t every time he gets to the dog park. He’ll sit there and he’ll say, ‘I’d like to punch him right in the f–king mouth’ … and it has gotten worse and worse and worse.
Florida has been a hotbed of anti-LGBTQ+ activity recently, much of it instigated by Republican governor Ron DeSantis. In May 2023 alone, six new bills were signed by DeSantis in attacking LGBTQ+ rights in the state.
In response to that, Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign issued updated travel advice for LGBTQ+ people considering visiting or moving to Florida, telling queer people to “reconsider” their plans and that it was not a safe place for LGBTQ+ travellers to visit.
Lay’s friends told The Tampa Bay Times that he worked in customer service for a health care company, and delivered food and drove for Uber in the evenings. One of his friends added, “He was nice to everyone and treated everybody as a human being.”
His friends claim that Lay and Radford were initially on friendly terms. But after Radford found out that Lay was openly gay, Radford began to target Lay, calling him slurs when he was walking in the park. It’s said that Radford’s politics ‘leaned to the right’.
The Tampa Bay Times reviewed Radford’s Facebook page and found that it included reposted memes that were disparaging to LGBTQ+ people.
It’s believed that the shooter is yet to be arrested or charged.
”We looked around at each other and I thought, this guy just killed our friend and he is not in handcuffs?” one of Lay’s friends is reported as saying. “It was unbelievable to us.”
As the community mourns Lay’s loss, his faithful dog Fala stands as a poignant reminder of his enduring legacy. Lay’s final wish was that a friend in Tampa would take in his dog if anything happened to him, as he wanted to ensure Fala’s continued care within the familiar confines of the Tampa community he called home.
Lay’s friend intends to continue to walk Fala in the dog park despite the fatal attack, explaining that Fala “would be happier with the Tampa pack he already knows”.
Schools, colleges and universities were the third most common location for a hate crime to be committed in the United States from 2018 to 2022, new FBI data shows, with more than 4,300 reported offenses, or 7.7% of total offenses over those five years, taking place in an educational setting.
The number of reported hate crime offenses across all categories increased from 8,492 in 2018 to 13,346 in 2022, according to a report released Monday by the FBI. The most common location for a hate crime was in home or residential settings, followed by those occurring on highways, roads and alleys.
The number of offenses in school settings has fluctuated slightly year to year. It reached its lowest point — 500 offenses, or 3.9% of all reported hate crime offenses nationwide — in 2020, as a likely result of school closures during the pandemic, the report stated. The highest number was in 2022, when 1,336 offenses, or 10%, were reported at schools.
The data also revealed the number of reported offenses at schools based on their bias motivation: The most common were anti-Black (1,690), anti-LGBTQ (901) and anti-Jewish (745) offenses over the course of the five years.
When breaking down the anti-LGBTQ offenses at schools further, the most common were those involving a mixed group of LGBTQ individuals (342) and those against gay men (306).
Educational settings were divided into three categories in the report: “college/university,” “elementary/secondary” and “unspecified school/college.” More than half of all hate crime offenses reported in an educational setting took place at an elementary or secondary school, with a combined total of 2,815 from 2018-2022. The most common offense at schools was intimidation, followed by what the study grouped as “destruction/damage/vandalism and “simple assault.”
In the FBI’s most recent overall hate crimes report, the same three groups were found to be the most common targets. More than half of race-based crimes in 2022 targeted Black people, and more than half of religious-based crimes targeted Jews. The data also pointed to a nearly 40% increase in anti-transgender crimes compared to the prior year.
Experts have long cautioned that hate crimes tend to go unreported by victims and local law enforcement.
Although not included in the FBI’s school hate crime report, over the last year there have been several high-profile hate crimes in the U.S.
In July, O’Shae Sibley, a professional dancer and choreographer, was stabbed to death in what police later said was an anti-gay hate crime. In the weeks following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy was stabbed to death in his Illinois home by his landlord, who was accused of being motivated by hate. In Jacksonville, Florida, a white gunman opened fire in a Dollar General store last summer, killing three Black people. And in December, a man was indicted on multiple hate crime charges in connection with the punching of an Israeli tourist in Times Square two months earlier.
|TLC’s 2nd Gay Comedy Night, cohosted by Sonoma County Pride, is just around the corner. Make sure to get your tickets before they’re gone! All proceeds support at-risk youth in Sonoma County. The details:February 24, 2024 6pm doors, show at 8pmBarrel Proof Comedy Lounge 501 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 9540121+ year old event; no-host barOutside food encouraged and welcome (attendees get 10% off at Tipsy Taco, right next door to the venue) We look forward to seeing you there!
|Meet Our Cohost! Sonoma County Pride
|TLC is thrilled to partner with Sonoma County Pride for Gay Comedy Night. Sonoma County Pride is committed to supporting LGBTQ+ youth in Sonoma County and the agencies that help them thrive. So grateful for your support of TLC and the youth we serve!
|Outside Food is Encouraged and Welcome
|Outside food is encouraged and welcome! All attendees get a 10% discount from Tipsy Taco, located just next door to Barrel Proof Comedy Lounge!
|What People are Saying
|“The decision to drive from Oakland to Santa Rosa was easy for us, knowing that we would support an event promoting and supporting LGBTQ+ youth. TLC has done a tremendous job at positively impacting our community, and we are truly grateful for all the excellent service you provide.” “My husband and I love going to comedy shows. We laughed so hard throughout TLC’s Gay Comedy Night, and we both thought one of the comedians was the funniest we’ve ever seen…and we went to Ali Wong at LBC! It was also just great to have gay comics doing gay jokes in a community that is 100% safe and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. We will be back for the next one for sure!” “Agencies that focus on serving LGBTQ+ youth are important in every community. Sonoma County is lucky to have TLC and Project Flare doing this work.” “Gay Comedy Night was a crazy fun way to support TLC. I can’t wait for the next TLC Comedy Night. We had a blast!”
|About TLC Child and Family Services
|Since 1975, TLC Child and Family Services has been serving the most vulnerable communities. We are specialists in gender-affirming care and recognize the unique challenges and needs of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ populations. TLC has long been an ally of the LGBTQ+ community:Celebrating and welcoming LGBTQ+ community members who wished to become parents via adoption or foster careProviding gender-affirming care across our programsWelcoming transgender youth with open arms into our programs–before others were doing soOffering SOGIE training and best practices to community organizationsOne of the few organizations in the country named Innovators by The Human Rights Campaign TLC’s Project Flare is on a mission to undo aloneness and create a legacy of visibility for LGBTQ+ youth. Through workshops, community building, and storytelling, Project Flare strives to empower and uplift the LGBTQ+ youth. When you support TLC, you support our commitment to creating inclusive and affirming environments for LGBTQ+ youth and their families in Sonoma County.
|About TLC’s Project Flare
Two Americas for queer people: HRC report finds stark differences in LGBTQ+ rights at the state level
The nation’s blue state-red state divide shows up sharply in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2023 State Equality Index, released Tuesday morning, with many states squarely in the pro-LGBTQ+ rights camp, about as many just the opposite, and few in the middle.
The HRC Foundation (HRC’s educational arm), in partnership with the Equality Federation — a network of state-based LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations — assessed the LGBTQ+ rights records of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The assessment included looks at nondiscrimination laws, relationship recognition, hate-crimes statutes, laws affecting young people, and more.
“Last year was the most damaging and destructive legislative session we have ever seen for the LGBTQ+ community – particularly transgender youth. This year, sadly, we expect more of the same,” Kelley Robinson, the president of HRC said in a release. “But these attacks are out of touch with the American people – and they are a losing political strategy. We are the majority, and we will not stop until we are setting new records in support of LGBTQ+ people in every corner of the country.”
Twenty states, the same number as the previous year, plus D.C., placed in the highest-rated category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality”: California, Maine, New York, Colorado, Nevada, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Maryland, Washington, Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Mexico, and Virginia.
Five states placed in the next category, “Solidifying Equality”: Michigan, Alaska, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. Two were in the category “Building Equality”: Utah and Arizona.
Twenty-three states were in the lowest-rated category, “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality”: Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Missouri, West Virginia, North Carolina, Montana, Georgia, Florida, Wyoming, Louisiana, Texas, Idaho, South Carolina, Mississippi, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Alabama.
Although 2023 was the worst year on record for anti-LGBTQ+ state legislation, a few states saw notable progress. Michigan, which was in the lowest category in the 2022 report, moved up because of major LGBTQ+ rights bills passed and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2023. One amended the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“That was an effort that had been several decades in the making,” Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s senior director for legal policy, tells The Advocate.
Another bill that became law in Michigan last year barred licensed therapists from subjecting minors to conversion therapy, the discredited and harmful practice of trying to turn LGBTQ+ people straight or cisgender. The advances in the state were made possible in large part by Democratic control of both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office, Oakley notes.
Arizona also progressed, moving up from the lowest category into “Building Equality.” The state still lacks an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination law covering private businesses, but in one of her first acts after being sworn into office in January 2023, Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive orderprotecting state employees and contractors from anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. Hobbs, who succeeded Republican Doug Ducey, has helped stop anti-LGBTQ+ legislation as well, Oakley says.
Utah, Kentucky, and North Dakota all moved down a category due to homophobic and transphobic legislation. All passed bans on gender-affirming care for transgender minors, and other major bills passed into law included Kentucky’s version of “don’t say gay” and, in North Dakota, an anti-trans “bathroom bill” and one requiring school staffers to out trans students to their parents.
Nationwide, 2023 was the worst year on record for anti-LGBTQ+ state legislation, with more than 550 such bills introduced across 43 states and more than 80 passed into law. 2024 is on track to be at least as bad, Oakley says. Legislatures in 36 states are in session so far, with 325 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced, by HRC’s latest count. Many of them are specifically anti-trans, as was the case last year. 2024 opened with Ohio lawmakers overriding Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of a ban on gender-affirming treatment for trans youth and restrictions on their participation in school sports, plus the proposal of rules under which state agencies would make it more difficult for both trans youth and adults to get the medical care they need.
Oakley attributes the rash of anti-trans bills to the fact that right-wing politicians have lost on so many other LGBTQ+ rights issues, including marriage equality. “Our opponents are running out of issues that are galvanizing to their base. … They needed a new issue, and they settled on trans kids,” she says.
These legislative attacks are popular only with the far right, not the general electorate, according to Oakley and other HRC officials, so it’s time for those who oppose such legislation to make their voices heard. “This is a moment when people absolutely have to get off the sidelines,” Oakley says.
HRC President Kelley Robinson and Equality Federation Institute Executive Director offered similar messages in a press release on the 2023 index. “The State Equality Index tells us where we have been and sets the course for where we want to go,” Robinson said. “Last year was the most damaging and destructive legislative session we have ever seen for the LGBTQ+ community — particularly transgender youth. This year, sadly, we expect more of the same. But these attacks are out of touch with the American people — and they are a losing political strategy. We are the majority, and we will not stop until we are setting new records in support of LGBTQ+ people in every corner of the country.”
“As the 2023 State Equality Index shows, this past legislative session marked one of the most daunting periods for transgender rights, requiring effective strategies and relentless advocacy from folks on the ground,” Hutchins added. “Despite the increasing number of bills filed nationwide, advocates and activists were able to beat back the majority of this legislation. Queer and trans people are powerful, and we are not going anywhere.”
|Read the Feb/Mar Peace Press online!
|A New Peace Press was just released!
Articles include:Community Helps the PJC ThriveNAACP Addresses SR School BoardSchool Violence: Symptom of a Systemic Problem of Our CulturePBCD Petaluma Black History ActivitiesNAACP Petaluma Black History EventsSo. Co. Commission on Human Rights Considers a Gaza CeasefireA Letter from a PalestinianDefy (poem)Read it online now!
|Thu, February 8 – 6:30 – 8 pm FREE. Cultural AppropriationCultural appropriation refers to the act of taking elements of a culture that is not one’s own, without permission or understanding of the original culture’s meaning and significance.
Invite your friends to join our Racial Justice Allies virtual dialogue. Open to everyone!To participate, e-mail [email protected] to register and we will send you a Zoom link on the day of the dialogue.More Info
|Black History Month – February 2024Events include: 2/17 – Black College Expo; 2/18 – Telling our Stories through Ethnic Studies, 2/24 – Double Screening: ‘The Race to Space’ & ‘Origin’, 2/25 – ‘Tasting Diversity’More info
|Restoration Intensive: Fire, Forests, & Animal Allies
with Starhawk & FriendsFebruary 23rd – March 3rdEarth Activist Training’s Restoration Intensive is an in-depth, hands-on course teaching practical land restoration skills. This year’s intensive will focus on fire resilient landscapes, erosion, stream restoration, and integrating livestock as an element of restoration.More info
|Visit our website events calendar and our Facebook page
for the latest listings of upcoming events and news.
|7 – Wed
|Sonoma County Library Lawyers in the Library: General Law Matters5 pm – 7 pm, Healdsburg Regional Library, free service
|Sonoma County Library Free Citizenship Classes Offered in Spanish5:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Roseland Regional Library, free service
|IOLERO – Community Advisory Council Community Outreach CommitteePublic Meeting – Topic: possible info webinarsNote: the link has the agenda & zoom links for both the 5:30 pm & 6 pm meetings. 5:30 pm – 6 pm, Manzanita Room, Finley Center or by Zoom
|Community Advisory Council of IOLERO Public Meeting – Main Topic: presentation on Penal Code 832.7Penal Code 832.7 – Right to Know: Disclosure of Police Records.
Note: Info at the end of the agenda on the meeting link.6 pm – 8 pm, Manzanita Room, Finley Center or by Zoom
|8 – Thu
|Sonoma County Library AARP Foundation Tax Aide10 am – 3 pm, Healdsburg Regional Library, 100% free service
|Cultural Appropriation – Virtual Dialogue – Racial Justice Allies
Join us for a lively discussion on understanding cultural appropriation. 6:30 pm – 8 pm, Zoom, contact us to attend the meeting
|9 – Fri
|Sonoma County Library AARP Tax Aide11:30 am – 12:30 pm, Sonoma Valley Regional Library, 100% free service
|Sitting for Survival – Every Friday
No More Fossil Fuels!!
12 pm – 1 pm; every Friday at Railroad Square., Santa Rosa
|10 – Sat
|Peace Not War in Ukraine – Every Saturday
Ceasefire and Negotiations Now! Money for Peace, Not War
12 pm – 1 pm; Rally every Saturday at Old Courthouse Sq., Santa Rosa
|Vigil for Gaza Ceasefire Now! – Every Saturday
Don’t Stop Talking About Palestine
2 pm every Saturday, Helen Putnam Plaza, Downtown Peataluma
|Sonoma County Library Your Energy Efficient & Resilient Home2 pm – 3:30 pm, Healdsburg Regional Library
|11 – Sun
|Sonoma County for Palestine Stand with Palestine – Protest every Sunday2 pm – 3:30 pm, Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa
A civil rights group alleged Tuesday that North Carolina’s public schools are “systematically marginalizing” LGBTQ youth while new state laws in part are barring certain sex-related instruction in early grades and limiting athletic participation by transgender students.
The Campaign for Southern Equality filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice against the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction, alleging violations of federal law. The complaint also alleges that the board and the department have failed to provide guidance to districts on how to enforce the laws without violating Title IX, which forbids discrimination based on sex in education.
“This discrimination has created a hostile educational environment that harms LGBTQ students on a daily basis,” the complaint from the group’s lawyers said while seeking a federal investigation and remedial action. “And it has placed educators in the impossible position of choosing between following the dictates of their state leaders or following federal and state law, as well as best practices for safeguarding all of their students.”
The Asheville-based group is fighting laws it opposes that were approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2023 over Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes.
One law, called the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” prohibits instruction about gender identity and sexuality in the curriculum for K-4 classrooms and directs that procedures be created whereby schools alert parents before a student goes by a different name or pronoun. The athletics measure bans transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams from middle and high school through college.
The group said it quoted two dozen students, parents, administrators and other individuals — their names redacted in the complaint — to build evidence of harm. These people and others said the laws are contributing to school policies and practices in which LGBTQ students are being outed to classmates and parents and in which books with LGBTQ characters are being removed from schools. There are also now new barriers for these students to seek health support and find sympathetic educators, the complaint says.
The group’s lawyers want the federal government to declare the two laws in violation of Title IX, direct the education board and DPI to train school districts and charter schools on the legal protections for LGBTQ students and ensure compliance.
Superintendent Catherine Truitt, the elected head of the Department of Public Instruction, said Tuesday after the complaint was made public that the Parents’ Bill of Rights “provides transparency for parents — plain and simple” and “ensures that parents remain aware of major health-related matters impacting their child’s growth and development.”
Local school boards have approved policies in recent weeks and months to comply with the law. It includes other directives designed to give parents a greater role in their child’s K-12 education, such as a process to review and object to textbooks and to get grievances addressed. But earlier this month the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools voted for policies that left out the LGBTQ-related provisions related to classroom instruction and pronouns.
Supporters of the transgender athlete restrictions argue they are needed to protect the safety and well-being of young female athletes and to preserve scholarship opportunities for them. But Tuesday’s complaint contends the law is barring transgender women and girls from participating in athletics. The group wants a return to the previous process in which it says the North Carolina High School Athletic Association laid out a path for students to participate in sports in line with their gender identities.
Equality California on Governor Newsom Signing SB 339, Improving Pharmacist-Delivered PrEP and PEP, Into Law
Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang following Governor Gavin Newsom signing SB 339 into law — a bill authored by Senator Scott Wiener which further expands access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV, specifically the ability of pharmacists to furnish these medications without a doctor’s prescription:
“We thank Governor Newsom for signing this critical healthcare legislation. PrEP and PEP prevent thousands of new HIV infections every year, but they are still far too difficult for many Californians to access. SB 339 will make it easier for California pharmacists to provide these important medications without a doctor’s prescription and bring the state one step closer to ending the HIV epidemic. We were proud to partner with the California Pharmacists Association and San Francisco AIDS Foundation on this important bill, and we are grateful to Senator Wiener for his ongoing leadership on this issue.“
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org