Wednesday, April 17, 2024

'Told you so' moment regarding book ban is latest embarrassment for 'culture warrior' Ron DeSantis


Florida Gov Ron DeSantis

While many eyes are on Donald Trump's trial, former presidential candidate FL Gov Ron DeSantis is facing another embarrassment which comes from laws he pushed while hyping himself up as a conservative culture warrior. DeSantis pushed for certain laws in an attempt to get the GOP presidential nomination. Now that the road to the White House has been cut off from him (at least for now), Mr. "Never Back Down" is actually backing down.  And with rapid speed.

From The Associated Press:

Two years ago, Democrats repeatedly and forcefully warned Republicans and Gov. Ron DeSantis that a new law making it easier to challenge schoolbooks was so broadly worded that it would create havoc across the state. 

Now they can say, “I told you so." 

 DeSantis backtracked on the 2022 law on Tuesday when he signed a bill narrowing its focus. He blamed liberal activists for abusing the law, not the citizens whose objections to certain books account for the majority of book removals from school libraries and classrooms. 

 “The idea that someone can use the parents' rights and the curriculum transparency to start objecting to every single book to try to make a mockery of this is just wrong,” DeSantis said the day before the bill signing. “That’s performative. That’s political.” 

 But the organization which has been fighting DeSantis over this book bans, PEN, told the Associated Press that it's actually conservative groups like Moms for Liberty who have been "abusing the law." 

 “The majority of books that we see being removed are books that talk about LBTQ+ identities, that include characters of color, that talk about race and racism, that include depictions of sexual experiences in the most broadest interpretation of that understanding,” said Kasey Meehan, Pen America's Freedom to Read program director.

Those challenges are being made by conservative individuals and groups such as Moms For Liberty, Meehan said. 

 According to the article, DeSantis's office provided one name as proof that the law was being abused by "liberal activists" - man by the name of Chaz Stevens who made challenges in several school districts claiming that the Bible iis obscene. However, Florida Democrat House leader Fentice Driskell disputed that claim. He told the Associated Press that DeSantis was warned in 2022 that the law would be abused. 

 “We told him so. The Florida House Democrats on the floor — in our debate, in our questioning — pointed out the vagueness in the original law and how it could be subject to abuse,” she said. “Chaz is not the problem. It's the folks who are taking liberties with the law who are the problem.”

DeSantis's backtracking on book banning is the second time he has backed away from a position he adopted in an attempt gain the GOP nomination.  In March, a lawsuit settlement practically gutted the centerpiece of his political narrative, i.e. the infamous "Don't Say Gay" law. DeSantis tried to claim that the settlement was a victory for the law, but others pointed out that it actually eliminated the law's most powerful element - it's vague wording.

According to The Tampa Bay Times:

DeSantis and others who backed the legislation insisted repeatedly that they had no intention of stopping discussions about LGBTQ+ issues in schools. Their goal, they said, was to eliminate what they called gender ideology. They did not provide clear definitions, though, nor did they offer detailed guidelines explaining what is and is not allowed in classrooms. 

Some claimed that not providing clear definitions or guidelines was a deliberate intent of the law. While it didn't offer clear instructions, but the penalties for breaking it were made very clear. This caused a lot of fear and confusion:

The critics claimed the result was a chilling effect that led teachers to stop talking about children’s families, remove books relating to LGBTQ+ characters and themes from their shelves, and to pull back support for LGBTQ+ students. As part of their defense, lawyers for the state pushed back against the allegations that the law lacked clarity. The settlement, announced by lawyers for the plaintiffs, took those arguments and made them real.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Trans youth and athletes win temporary but important court victories in West Virginia, Ohio, and New York



While the country's attention seems to be somewhere else (ugh), the trans community, particularly our trans kids and athletes, received three court victories on Tuesday. While they are temporary for now, each victory is of vital importance.

A federal appeals court has ruled that transgender students in West Virginia may play on sports teams that align with their gender identity. In a landmark decision on Tuesday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a West Virginia law that prohibited transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports teams, deeming it a violation of Title IX, which bars sex-based discrimination in education. The Associated Press reports that this ruling impacts the case of 13-year-old Becky Pepper Jackson, who has identified as a girl since the third grade and is undergoing puberty-blocking treatment. 
 According to the AP, in February 2023, an interim court decision prevented the state from barring Jackson from her middle school track and field team under this law. Judge Toby Heytens, in his ruling, emphasized that the so-called choice between not playing sports or playing on boys’ teams offered no genuine option. 

“B.P.J. has been recognized by her community and legally changed her name, and West Virginia has issued a birth certificate listing her sex as female,” Heytens wrote, supporting the view that denying her participation in girls’ teams was discriminatory.

 Lambda Legal, representing Becky, highlighted the discriminatory nature of the law. “West Virginia’s effort to ban one 13-year-old transgender girl from joining her teammates on the middle school cross country and track team was singling out Becky for disparate treatment because of her sex,” said Lambda Legal staff attorney Sruti Swaminathan. “That’s discrimination, pure and simple, and we applaud the court for arriving at this just decision,” she added.

 . . . The ruling reflects broader national debates and legal battles over transgender rights in sports, healthcare, and public accommodations. This decision aligns West Virginia with states like Arizona, Idaho, and Utah, where similar bans have been temporarily blocked, while states like Alabama and Texas continue to enforce such prohibitions. 

 The other victory has to do with a temporary block on Ohio's law banning gender-affirming care for trans kids. From USA Today: 

 An Ohio judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked an impending law that would restrict medical care for transgender minors in the Buckeye State. The decision came weeks after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the state on behalf of two transgender girls and their families. The measure prevents doctors from prescribing hormones, puberty blockers, or gender reassignment surgery before patients turn 18. Attorneys contend the law violates the state Constitution, which gives Ohioans the right to choose their health care.

 “Today’s ruling is a victory for transgender Ohioans and their families,” said Harper Seldin, staff attorney for the ACLU. “Ohio’s ban is an openly discriminatory breach of the rights of transgender youth and their parents alike and presents a real danger to the same young people it claims to protect.” 

 The legislation was set to take effect on April 24 after House and Senate Republicans voted to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto. Proponents of the bill contend it will protect children, but critics say decisions about transition care should be left to families and their medical providers. 

And finally, a victory for trans athletes in New York. 


 A federal judge has opened the door for New York State Attorney General Letitia James to challenge a Nassau County executive order barring trans girls from participating in girls’ sports in Nassau facilities. District Court Judge Nusrat J. Choudhury summarily dismissed a lawsuit against James from Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, a Republican official elected in 2021 and the architect behind the anti-trans policy. Blakeman’s suit attempted to stop James from being able to challenge the order. 

 “The law is perfectly clear: you cannot discriminate against a person because of their gender identity or expression. We have no room for hate or bigotry in New York,” James said in March. “This executive order is transphobic and blatantly illegal. Nassau County must immediately rescind the order, or we will not hesitate to take decisive legal action.” 

 The order doesn’t just affect trans girls. It also impacts over 100 athletic facilities throughout Nassau County, according to Newsday, since trans girls and women are now banned from participating on women’s teams at those sites. Groups looking for permission to use Nassau County facilities like swimming pools, football fields, and basketball courts must “expressly designate” the team members’ “biological sex at birth” as male, female, or coed.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Franklin Graham decries Nazi concentration camp, gets reminded about his anti-LGBTQ comments and support of Donald Trump

 Folks who follow this blog know how much I despise Franklin Graham. From his vile comments about the LGBTQ community to his basic hypocrisy in supporting Donald Trump, there are a plethora of reasons why I think he represents just how far Christianity in America has fallen.

And just like Trump, there is no bottom when it comes to stooping for Graham. Case in point is the following recent tweet:

Using the suffering of Jewish people to encourage folks to embrace Christianity doesn't seem to be in good taste. Since I am not Jewish, though, I don't think it's my place to decipher Graham's intent in that respect. 

However, the basic hypocrisy of Graham's comment stands out. Gays suffered persecution during the Holocaust, including at Auschwitz. And over the years, Graham made some rather awful comments about gays. He's even praised world leaders who have cracked down on gay people in their own countries. In 2015, Graham praised Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin for passing laws which strip Russian gays of their basic rights:

I have met (Obama) on several occasions. He’s a very nice person. But he supports and promotes policies that contradict the teachings of God. As a Christian I believe that abortion is murder, he supports it. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage — those are sins against God, and the president is promoting them. I’m not against homosexuals as people. But God commanded that marriage should be between a man and a woman. And I very much appreciate that President Putin is protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda. If only to give them the opportunity to grow up and make a decision for themselves. Again, homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children. I believe that President Obama (and I’ll repeat, he’s a very nice person) is leading America down the wrong road. He’s taking a stand against God.

This was pointed out to Graham by some of the folks responding to his tweet about Auschwitz:


Other responses to Graham's tweet brought up his unwavering support of Donald Trump and convenient silence when Trump has lied, made bigoted comments about various groups of people, and implied desires of wanting to be a dictator:

Thursday, April 11, 2024

When people whine about 'wokeism,' this is what they really mean

 It always amazes me when I hear some folks gripe about having to deal with racism, homophobia, transphobia, and basic other bigotries nowadays. I understand their exhaustion with it all, but it's still an incredibly naive opinion. 

Bigotry has been with us from the beginning and it's not going anywhere. It's simply human nature to feel fear and superiority against something you don't or won't understand. And it's relatively easy to be manipulated into believing that the unknown thing facing you is trying to hurt you.

The only thing society has progressed in when it comes to bigotry is developing new ways to disguise it. The cartoon strip below from the webpage The Devil's Panties illustrates this point rather well. 

When we hear people whine about wokeism, this is probably what they're actually disturbed about.



Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Federal judge blocks FL anti-trans law, Nebraska legislators turn against their own anti-trans bill & other Tue/Wed news briefs




Federal judge blocks teacher pronoun restriction in Florida, citing First Amendment - A federal judge on Tuesday blocked Florida education officials from enforcing a law requiring a transgender teacher to use pronouns that align with her sex assigned at birth, saying the law violated her First Amendment rights. 


 Nebraska state Senator John Fredrickson is the first out gay man elected to the state legislature. Now, he has another feather in his cap. After an impassioned speech in opposition to a bill that targeted transgender youth, two of his colleagues changed their minds about the legislation that they had co-sponsored. The measure did not pass out of committee after they did. 

Elon Musk uses burner accounts on X, doesn’t fact-check: report - The quicker Elon Musk gets dragged down, the better the world and the online community will be.



Sunday, April 07, 2024

Right-wing social media 'influencer' mocked and proven to be a liar during failed attack on gender-neutral bathrooms

Morgonn McMichael is a right-wing social media 'influencer' who humiliated herself while trying to create a controversy about gender-neutral bathrooms.


Morgonn McMichael considers herself a "social media influencer" out to change the world and become famous while doing it. However, as a recent incident proves, she's nothing more than a desperate engagement-hungry ambulance chaser eager for attention, even if that attention includes widespread ridicule.

 From The Huffington Post:

A right-wing social media influencer was ridiculed and fact-checked after melting down over a gender-neutral bathroom at Kansas City International Airport. In a video posted on X, Morgonn McMichael filmed herself walking into the restroom, complaining that it was a “crazy” concept. “I hate this,” she says in the clip. “I have never seen an all-gender bathroom. I am not going in here.” 

 That would be this video right here:

However, the HuffPost said, folks who answered her back weren't sympathetic to her:

 But as commenters noted, she had no need to use the bathroom if she didn’t want to. A reader context note was added to the bottom of McMichael’s post, pointing out that there are gender-specific bathrooms available in addition to the gender-neutral one. The bathrooms are in the new terminal of the airport, which opened in February last year. 

The facilities were built under a policy supported by the Kansas City LGBTQ Commission. Justice Horn, chair of that commission, replied to the post personally.

 “First, these are single stall, all gender bathrooms that allow for greater privacy. There are gender specific bathrooms down the hall too,” he wrote. “Finally, don’t use my community to create fake outrage―it’s sad.”

Horn was nice compared to other responses McMichael received. Aside from the Community Notes calling her out, other comments condemned her sad attempt at clickbait.
 

In her attempt to defend herself from the barrage of ridicule, McMichael later tweeted that she had never seen an all-gender restroom before.

 

McMichael was lying. She had done the same stunt in San Francisco in October 2023. And folks pulled out the "receipts."

 

As delightful as it is to mock McMichael, it's also a sad realization of how conservative operatives create chaos. They manufacture false hysterias by exploiting people's fears and ignorance. In this case, McMichael tried to simultaneously exploit people's ignorance and all-gender bathrooms and the false fear that trans women actually predators seeking to trap cis women and girls in intimate situations. She failed only because folks called out her out quickly and decisively. 

But unfortunately, McMichael isn't the only conservative doing this. There are many clout-hungry right-wing ghouls like McMichael attempting to replicate her action. And in an age when even proving yourself to be a fool gets you clicks, we are all going to have to fight much harder to stamp it out. Or at least contain it.

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Media Matters: 'Expose' on trans healthcare organization filled with misinformation but amplified by media who didn't fact-check its errors




Media Matters just published an article regarding what appears to be an attempt to undermine gender-affirming healthcare on a large scale:
  
 Networks owned by the largest local TV station owners in the U.S., and mainstream outlets including The Washington Post and Newsweek, recently amplified a deeply flawed report by anti-trans activists. The outlets also failed to fact-check its misinformation or provide context for the extremists behind it. The report was covered widely by anti-trans figures and outlets, and some Republican state legislators are already using the report to call for expanding restrictions on gender-affirming care. 

 On March 4, anti-woke blogger and former California gubernatorial candidate Michael Shellenberger announced the release of “The WPATH Files,” a collection of leaked forum posts from an internal message board for members of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. The group is the leading body providing clinical guidance for medical professionals on gender-affirming care, and a frequent target of anti-trans activists.

The report included a loose collection of out-of-context clinical observations paired with inaccurate and editorialized commentary. An independent review from medical news outlet STAT described claims made in the report as false and oversimplified.

Specifically, as discussed by journalist and researcher Erin Reed, the report cites research that comes either from biased sources or is well over a decade old, with newer research refuting the claims. The report makes verifiably false claims about gender-affirming care and the commonality of detransition. Leaked material is inaccurately characterized throughout the report, and at other times, the content was presented without context, allowing readers to misinterpret what was said in the chat logs. 

The report was the product of behind-the-scenes collaboration between Shellenberger and Genspect, an anti-trans activist group that promotes conversion therapy and bans on transition care for adults. The report’s analysis was written by Mia Hughes, who has an extensive history as an anti-trans writer and acted as a spokesperson for an organization that supports conversion therapy for trans youth.

The article goes on to show how this expose gained traction in the news media who failed to adequately check its veracity. Feel free to read and share it. It underscores how war on the trans community and gender-affirming healthcare seems to be more intricate and deeper than the past attacks against the gay community but just as dishonest and deceptive. And unfortunately, members of the media became unintended co-conspirators.

Image above courtesy of Erin Reed.



Tuesday, April 02, 2024

'Right-wing publication retracts article about Biden and Easter, former anti-LGBTQ leader disbarred after Trump elector scheme' & other Tue/Wed news briefs

Former head of the National Organization for Marriage and now former attorney (unless he wins on appeal) John Eastman became the latest proof of whatever Trump touches always dies.

 Editor's note - As you may have noticed, I've dropped my daily news briefs from being a regular feature. However I have devoted posts to news briefs when there are days in which too much stuff is going to focus on one thing.  And today is such a day. From a right-wing wing publication retracting a false story about Biden and Easter, to a former head of an anti-LGBTQ group (the National Organization for Marriage) getting officially disbarred because his participation in Trump's fake electors schemes, to the passage of a bill in Tennessee which would be trouble to LGBTQ foster kids, to a huge victory against an anti-trans bill in Wisconsin.

Daily Caller Fully Retracts Article Claiming Biden Banned ‘Religious Easter Eggs’ From White House Contest - And let's start with what I call an Easter miracle - a far right publication retracting a smear job on President Biden: 

 The Daily Caller on Tuesday retracted an article claiming that the Biden White House banned “religious Easter eggs” from an art contest at the annual Easter Egg Roll over the weekend. The claim had spread through right-wing media, even though it was quickly and widely debunked by various fact-checkers and anyone familiar with the history of the event. 

 Related post - Right-wing media melt down over Easter and Trans Day of Visibility falling on the same day 

 John Eastman's law license yanked in California after judge recommends disbarment: report - Bye, bye, Johnny. Whatever Trump touches always dies. 

 A onetime attorney for former President Donald Trump cannot practice law in California after a judge's ruling recommended disbarment, according to state records and reports. A bold red message on the State Bar of California alerts viewers John Eastman is "Not Eligible to Practice Law," the progressive news site Democracy Docket was among the first to report Tuesday.  
The status update comes with a hefty consumer alert warning would-be clients that Eastman was been charged with a felony in Georgia, where Fulton County District Attorney Fani Wills has accused the lawyer, Trump and more than a dozen others with election racketeering. 

For those who are not aware, Eastman was the head of the National Organization for Marriage, the group behind the unsuccessful fight to stop marriage equality: 

 Eastman also has a long history of anti-LGBTQ+ activism. He became NOM’s board chairman in 2011 and compared marriage equality to slavery in 2014, saying that courts had “illegitimately” decided on the issue and that voters should decide instead. He also tried to get NOM to defend several states’ same-sex marriage bans in courts, though a federal judge ruled that NOM lacked the legal standing to do so. He has supported Uganda’s criminalization of homosexuality, called homosexuality an indicator of “barbarism,” has called same-sex marriage “evil” and “despotic,” and has claimed that the LGBTQ+ equality movement promotes pedophilia, according to Right Wing Watch. 

 In other news: 

Wisconsin Gov. Evers vetoes transgender high school athletics ban, decries "radical policies targeting LGBTQ" 

Tennessee Passes Bill Allowing Non-Accepting Parents To Adopt LGBTQ+ Kids

Monday, April 01, 2024

Biden Administration doesn't back down from Easter/Trans Day of Visibility 'controversy.' Calls out 'misinformation done on purpose'

Unless you've been hiding under a rock last weekend (and if you were, you really should be happy all things considered), then you've heard of the latest right-wing moral panic. To recap - Trans Day of Visibility has been commemorated on March 31 every year since 2009. This particular year, it fell on the same day as the Easter holiday. Easter changes dates every year, so it's never on the same calendar day.

However, when have the religious right, Republicans and various conservatives ever let a small detail like "truth" interfere with their rage farming stunts. And this one was a doozy. In what was implied to be to have been a coordinated attempt, various tweets from Republicans and conservative figures, various right-wing news articles, various right-wing blogs, and various far-right religious entities all attacked President Biden for supposedly making a mockery of "Easter." They claimed that he was deliberately insulting Christians.

Even Trump, demanded that Biden apologize. Unfortunately, in light of Trump's recent attempt to sell of $60 Bibles (and the fact that this is Donald Trump in general), the adage about someone being so brazen that lightning strikes them, thereby causing said person to fall into hell and "bust it wide open" didn't prove true. 

However, many of us on the left and mainstream (including various fact-checkers) didn't back down from calling out the lies about Easter and Trans Day of Visibility. Most important, neither did the Biden Administration. It issued no apologies. Instead, via White House Press Secretary Karine Jeane-Pierre, the Biden Administration called out the fake outrage.

From Mediaite:

“So, surprised by the misinformation that’s been out there around this and I want to be very clear,” Jean-Pierre said, “Every year for the past several years on March 31, Transgender Day of Visibility is marked. And, as we know, for folks who understand the calendar and how it works, Easter falls on different Sundays, right? Every year. And this year, it happens to coincide with Transgender Visibility Day.” 

She continued: We were, at first, I want to be very clear, confused on their coverage. We’re grateful that Fox agrees with President Biden on the importance of recognizing Trans Day of Visibility. And I’ll just quote something that Fox said back in 2021. They tweeted this: “Trans Day of Visibility is dedicated to celebrating transgender people. To all the transgender men, women and nonbinary folk, we see you and stand with you.” “A lot of misinformation done on purpose,” 

Jean-Pierre continued. “And, as a Christian who celebrates Easter with family, President Biden stands for bringing people together, and upholding the freedoms and dignity of every American.” She added, “It is dishonest what we have heard the past 24 hours. It is untrue what we heard over the weekend.” She called the misinformation “dividing.”

 

You can watch a video of her comments via Forbes Breaking News:


Let's hope this fighting spirit lasts. It's going to be a long electoral season and if Biden keeps this up, I'm personally here for it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

'Anti-woke,' anti-LGBTQ Ohio school board member removed after two-year reign of terror and harassment


Former Lakota (Ohio) school board member Darbi Boddy


I got this news from The Buckeye Flame, which is led by award-winning journalist Ken Schneck.  Both The Buckeye Flame and Schneck underscore the importance of reading and supporting LGBTQ-oriented news sources and blogs, "Mainstream" news sources never seem to do us justice.

While school board members are portrayed as generally at odds with each other, this particular school board in Lakota (Ohio) were all in agreement about one thing during a special March 20 meeting - fellow board member Darbi Boddy had to go. And except for one person who abstained, they voted unanimously (3-0) to dismiss her. The one who abstain probably did so for reasons not necessarily complimentary to Boddy. 

To hear the story, Boddy was responsible for a two-year reign of terror which left the school board and some members of the community completely exhausted and happy that she was dismissed.


From The Buckeye Flame (3/26/24):

Boddy was elected to the Lakota board, which covers the Cincinnati suburbs of West Liberty and Westchester townships, in November 2021. She ran on a platform of “teaching the greatness of America.” According to her campaign website, this greatness includes: 

 Ending the promotion of “racist ideologies to our students and faculty,” including “the 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory and Black Lives Matter.” 

The “honest teaching of American history.” America, she stated, has “given peasants the lifestyle of kings and more liberty and more wealth to minorities than any country in human history.” 

The “honest teaching of the sexes in our classrooms,” including “the fact that sex is determined at birth and cannot be changed” and the elimination of “boys’ competing in girls’ sports programs.” 

 

Boddy subsequently won a seat on the school board. That is when all hell broke loose with her holding the pitchfork: 


 In April 2021, only a few months after she was elected, Boddy was censured after she posted links to sexual content on Facebook. She claimed the links were a typo, but said they were representative of the pornography being taught in the schools. 

 At a November 2021 meeting, in front of a group of second graders being recognized for their civility and leadership, Boddy repeatedly kept yelling and disrupting the order of the meeting, all while her young daughter was crouched under the table. At that meeting, Boddy proposed banning trans students from athletics and forfeiting any athletic competitions against teams with trans students. That motion was defeated 4-1. 

Boddy further attempted to ban trans athletes and bathroom access for trans students at an April 2023 meeting. She again repeatedly yelled, interrupted her colleagues and was ruled out of order. An exasperated Casper called her a “petulant child.” (You can view moments from the explosive meeting here courtesy of Schneck) 

Between meetings, Boddy posted a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ and “anti-woke” articles and videos on her Facebook page. She has alleged that National Geographic is an activist publication that supports predators, that Pride flags represent exclusion, and that “there is no such thing as transgender.” 

She also reposted an unsigned letter alleging sexual assault in a Lakota school bathroom. There was no evidence or corroboration connected to the post.


 In addition, according to City Beat (8/9/23), Boddy began in a campaign of smears against Lakota School Superintendent Matt Miller; one that ended with him resigning:

Months later, during the start of the 2022-2023 school year, Boddy began zeroing in on Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller. Boddy claimed he was personally promoting CRT at Lakota Schools and that he engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct. Complaints from Boddy and community members led to an investigation from the Butler County Sheriff’s department, which found no probable cause for criminal charges against Miller, according to the board. 

The board conducted its own investigation, which also came up with nothing, but Boddy reportedly pressed the allegations further during school board meetings. Miller ultimately resigned as superintendent, directly blaming Boddy for creating a hostile working environment and alleging she’d promoted threats of violence against him and his family. 


Boddy's manic stridency finally got her into trouble when she began targeting fellow school board member Issac Adi. Adi was the one who abstained in the vote to dismiss her. One thinks that if he had voted to dismiss her, she would have been able to claim impropriety because she harassed him so badly that he filed a civil protection stalking order against her.


From The Buckeye Flame:

According to court documents, Boddy confronted Adi at an April 2023 conservative leadership conference in Florida, accosting him in front of witnesses. She claimed he wasn’t conservative enough. On June 22, Boddy posted a video to Facebook of her confronting Adi, claiming he said that her “brain was empty.” She filed an assault report after Adi was seen in the video pushing her camera away, but the Butler County Sheriff’s Office did not move forward with charges. 

 Adi filed a civil protection stalking order against Boddy in September 2023, but an exception was made for them to present at the same school board meetings pending Boddy’s appeal to the order. When that appeal was denied, she was issued a citation when she tried to enter a school board meeting in November. 

 Also, according to CityBeat (9/21/23):

The order details a months-long pattern of targeted harassment from Boddy towards Adi. "[Adi] contends that certain actions taken by [Boddy] have caused, and will continue to cause, him mental distress. He further contends that the mental distress caused by [Boddy] has resulted in hospitalization," the order reads. Adi testified that he was hospitalized for three days due to stress, and witnesses testified that Adi had indicated his health was declining as a result of interactions with Boddy.

 

This subsequently caused Boddy to miss school board meetings for over 90 days. That led to the board being able to dismiss her.


From The Buckeye Flame:

The resolution they passed dismissed Boddy pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code that states a seat shall be vacated when a board member is absent from board meetings for a period of 90 days, if the reason for the absence is declared insufficient by two-thirds of the Board. 

Immediately following the vote, Shaffer announced a vacancy on the board. Applause was heard as the meeting adjourned. Less than a day later, Boddy’s picture was removed from the board’s website.

One wonders if they all sang Ding, dong, the witch is dead. 

I certainly would have.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Washington becomes the seventh state to mandate LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum

From NBC News:

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, signed a law last week that includes a mandate for the state’s public schools to teach LGBTQ history, as red and blue states continue to diverge on whether schools should expose kids to gay and transgender identities. 

The new law, Senate Bill 5462, mandates that the state’s school districts adopt curricula that is as “culturally and experientially diverse as possible,” including the histories of LGBTQ people, people of color and people with disabilities. Schools will be required to institute the inclusive curricula by the 2025-26 school year. 

 “The governor was happy to sign legislation that aims to ensure students of all races and identities feel safe and welcome at school,” Mike Faulk, a spokesperson for Inslee, said in an email Monday. Faulk also referred NBC News to research published in the journal Sex Education that suggests LGBTQ-inclusive curricula can reduce rates of bullying and make children feel safer in school.

 . . . Washington is the seventh state to enact legislation mandating that public schools incorporate LGBTQ-inclusive curricula in some capacity, according to the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBTQ think tank. The other six are: California, New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada and Illinois, states that have been won by Democrats in the last four presidential elections. The law also comes as conservative lawmakers introduce record numbers of anti-LGBTQ measures, including legislation to regulate how LGBTQ issues are taught in public schools.


First of all, this proves yet again that voting always matter. If LGBTQ people are to get positive outcomes, we must put in elected officials who will work for those positive outcomes. Voting matters. Always.

Secondly, in light of all of the nonsense the LGBTQ community is facing now, it's easy to think that this doesn't matter. But it does matter.  When I was growing up, I would never dream of something like this. Being gay, or LGBTQ in general, was something a lot of folks tried to make shameful. We were shuttered into the closets and other dark places like we were something vile and fetid. Our lives were crudely sliced and diced into salacious stereotypes of oversexed, disease-ridden societal outcasts who should be kept away from kids and decent folks. 

Granted, it's still happening due to people like Chaya Raichik and statewide legislation attacking our health and safety. But even in the face of that, our community is still progressing. We are still moving forward. All of the mad talk about "grooming," all of the lies about gender-affirming care - particularly for our trans kids - may have slowed us, but it hasn't stopped us. In seven states - and I hope more in the future - kids will learn about our lives and history. They will learn that LGBTQ people exist and aren't people to be ashamed of. They will see that we have contributed to society and will continue to do so. And LGBTQ kids will be especially helped by this. 

In the onslaught of hate and misinformation, it becomes easy to forget that LGBTQ people don't stop moving forward. We are in a better place than we were before and that's due to our tenacity. And as each day passes, we will continue to be in better places. We don't stop because we can't stop. 

Our victory is inevitable.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Video - Trump supporters think drag queens are more dangerous than guns

I wasn't going to post anything on Sunday and I apologize for presenting this video (because interviews with Trump voters are so damn annoying and jaded), but I feel that this video is necessary. It's not to attack any group for their beliefs, but one must call out basic ignorance, especially when it comes to the LGBTQ community and our culture. And the video above oozes with ignorance. 

 It practically reeks with it. OH MY GOD, where should I start? With the fact that these folks don't know the difference between drag queens and the trans community. The fact that they actually feel that drag queens are more dangerous than guns? Take your pick. But I will end with one sad fact - these people VOTE. And if we are going to defeat nonsense like this or at the very least contain it, we are going to have to stop getting distracted. We need to vote with as much energy as we waste laughing at these folks. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

'Victory - Over 40 anti-LGBTQ 'policy riders' removed from federal budget bill' & other Thur/Fri news briefs



Massive Defeat For Anti-Trans And Anti-LGBTQ+ Riders In Spending Bill As Dems Hold Firm - Fellow GLAAD award nominee Erin Reed is a one-woman wrecking crew when it comes to dismantling transphobia and basic bigotry. Support her work. 

 One policy rider proposed for the Food and Drug Administration would have defunded any hospital that “distributes, sells, or otherwise uses drugs that disrupt the onset of puberty or sexual development for those under 18,” a measure targeting not only transgender youth but also those experiencing precocious puberty. Another rider sought to bar any government funding toward “surgical procedures or hormone therapy for the purposes of gender-affirming care” in the Department of Health and Human Services. 

This move would have significantly impacted private and subsidized insurance in the Healthcare Marketplace. It also aimed to bar the enforcement of President Biden’s executive order titled “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity,” which broadened anti-discrimination protections for transgender individuals. Additional riders included bans on funding for any organization that “promotes transgenderism,” Title IX protections for transgender youth, bans on legal challenges against states over anti-LGBTQ+ laws, book bans, DEI bans, and more. In total, over 40 riders were proposed and negotiated in the spending bills. None of these were found in the final bill. 

 Ultimately, the final spending bill released contained only a single anti-LGBTQ+ rider: a ban on pride flags being raised or displayed above foreign embassies. The policy, while certainly qualifying as anti-LGBTQ+ and a regression to Trump-era policies, notably does not bar personal displays of Pride flags by embassy workers. In the past, some embassies have gotten around such bans by not “flying a flag over the embassy” but rather, painting portions of the embassy in rainbow colors or draping flags on the side of buildings. 

White House Agrees To Ban Pride Flags At US Embassies In Spending Bill Deal - Unfortunately, this rider didn't slip by. I sincerely hope members of the community don't flip out over this. Compared to what could have been, this is very minor.




Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Video - Four years ago, Donald Trump botched the COVID pandemic response. His campaign wants America to forget what he did.

Four years ago, Donald Trump botched the COVID pandemic response and refused to take responsibility for the carnage he was causing. Now his campaign is trying to gaslight America to forget all of it. Thank you Chris Hayes and MSNBC for the above reminder.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

SCOTUS turns down appeal of parents who lost custody of trans teen

I am not a fan of the current Supreme Court because of how it seems to put religious beliefs on an undeserved pedestal.  However, in this particular case, SCOTUS made the right decision. In rejecting this appeal, the Court is saying, at least for now, that the religious beliefs of the parents don't supersede the health and well-being of their child.

 From USA Today:

The Supreme Court declined to decide Monday whether an Indiana couple who believe children should be raised based on their sex at birth should have lost custody of their teenager, a transgender girl. The court, without comment, rejected an appeal from the teen’s parents, who had warned that cases similar to theirs are likely to reoccur “due to developing conflicts between parents and their children concerning gender identity.” 

 “With increasing frequency, governments run roughshod over parents’ religious beliefs on gender identity, including removing children from parents, favoring certain beliefs in divorce custody disputes, and preventing adoptions,” lawyers for Mary and Jeremy Cox of Anderson, Indiana, told the court in their appeal. “These cases are sure to proliferate.” 

 The state said the parents, who are self-described devout Christians, lost custody not because of their views but because of the medical necessity of addressing the teen’s severe eating disorder. A provision of Indiana law that is similar to statutes in nearly every state allows government intervention in “a variety of situations in which even well-intentioned parent find themselves unable to prevent serious harm,” the state told the court. 

 Indiana also argued that the custody dispute is no longer relevant because the teen, who was 16 when removed from the home, is now an adult. 

 The LGBTQ news site Them also added several other details about the case:

 The case stretches back to 2019, when Mary and Jeremy Cox of Anderson, Indiana said their child — then 14 years old — came out to them as a trans girl. As PBS affiliate WFYI reported, the Coxes, both self-described devout Christians, refused to accept their child’s identity, a sustained conflict that lawyers for the Department of Child Services (DCS) say eventually led to the child developing a severe eating disorder and both parents losing custody in 2021. 

 The Indiana Court of Appeals in 2022 upheld the DCS decision to remove the child from her parents’ care, finding that her eating disorder was directly linked to emotional distress and lack of support at home. Mary Cox’s comments to her child included the statement that “[child’s preferred name] is the bitch that killed my son,” according to the ruling. 

The court determined that the custody order was necessary to protect the child’s physical and emotional health, and while the Coxes are free to express their religious beliefs, “they do not have the right to exercise them in a manner that causes physical or emotional harm to [their] Child.”


Monday, March 18, 2024

'Actress fired from 'Color Purple' stage show because of anti-LGBTQ comments loses lawsuit' & other Mon/Tues news briefs

Editor's note - As you have noticed, I haven't been as steady on the posts as I have been in the past. I've been going through some trying situations, but I still want to keep you up-to-date, educated, and entertained. And most of all, empowered by what I post here. Please bear with me as I continue to do what I have been doing these past 17.5 years and above all thank you for continuing to stand by me.


Seyi Omooba

Christian actress spent 5 years in court defending her right to make anti-LGBTQ+ comments. She just lost. - You cannot attack the sexual orientation of the character you are hired to portray and expect to keep your job. It does cause problems to your employers. Also, how do you expect anyone to believe that you were unaware that Celie from 'The Color Purple' was a lesbian:

 After hearing testimony in 2021 that Omooba had previously told her agents that she refused to play gay roles and had not bothered to read the script for the musical version of The Color Purple before accepting the role, an employment tribunal dismissed the actor’s religious discrimination claim, The Telegraph reported. The tribunal agreed with Curve Theatre that Omooba had not been fired for her Christian beliefs, but rather because her anti-LGBTQ+ statements would have likely led to “catastrophic” backlash for the theater if she had appeared in the queer role. 

California parents oust school board members who enacted anti-LGBTQ+ policy - Bye Felicias. Voting matters.

Idaho considers a ban on using public funds or facilities for transgender care - There is absolutely no point to this madness. Why push this ban? 

Death of Nex Benedict spurs calls for action, help for LGBTQ teens and their peers - Terrible situation but hopefully some good will come out of it. 

Ron “Don’t Say Gay” DeSantis can’t stop racking up humiliating losses in Florida- It's been a good month. 

On Fox News, Caitlyn Jenner defends trans athlete ban - GURL, u r a HOT mess.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

'Ron DeSantis is feuding with Chaya Raichik and Libs of TikTok' & other Wed/Thur news briefs


In a recreation of one of those anaconda vs alligator moments on a nature show, Florida Gov Ron DeSantis (top picture) is feuding with Chaya Raichik and Libs of TikTok (bottom picture).

Editor's note - There is so many things going on that it would be best for me to cover as much as I can via news briefs.

DeSantis starts spat with Libs of TikTok - In a recreation of one of those anaconda vs alligator moments on a nature show, Florida Gov Ron DeSantis is feuding with Chaya Raichik and Libs of Tik Tok. Apparently, he got a taste of the medicine he supported her doling out to LGBTQ people. The spat is about immigration and crime, but it's still one of those "let's eat popcorn while enjoying the show" for our community. 

Glenn Youngkin signs bill that codifies marriage equality in Va. law - Pinch me on this one. Democrats control both the House and the Senate in Virginia so maybe Youngkin is trying to get along. If that's the case, it is yet more proof how voting matters.

 LGBTQ+ identification reaches new high of 7.6 percent among U.S. adults: Gallup - Closet doors are opening everywhere.

Lady Gaga shares powerful statement defending Dylan Mulvaney from anti-trans vitriol: “This is hatred” - Thank you, Lady Gaga.

New Survey Shows Broad Support for LGBTQ Rights Nationally, Despite Overall Declines in the Past Year - We're still hanging in there.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Victory in Florida: Lawsuit settlement guts harmful components of 'Don't Say Gay' law



Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill, a centerpiece of Ron DeSantis's so-called 'war on woke,' was gutted due to a settlement announced Monday evening. However, DeSantis is trying to deceive people by proclaiming victory.

From MSNBC

 Students and teachers will be able to speak freely about sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida classrooms, provided it’s not part of instruction, under a settlement reached Monday between Florida education officials and civil rights attorneys who had challenged a state law which critics dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.” 

 The settlement clarifies what is allowed in Florida classrooms following passage two years ago of the law prohibiting instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades. Opponents said the law had created confusion about whether teachers could identify themselves as LGBTQ or if they even could have rainbow stickers in classrooms. Other states used the Florida law as a template to pass prohibitions on classroom instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation. Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and North Carolina are among the states with versions of the law. 

 Under the terms of the settlement, the Florida Board of Education will send instructions to every school district saying the Florida law doesn’t prohibit discussing LGBTQ people, nor prevent anti-bullying rules on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or disallow Gay-Straight Alliance groups. The settlement also spells out that the law is neutral — meaning what applies to LGBTQ people also applies to heterosexual people — and that it doesn’t apply to library books not being used in the classroom. 

 DeSantis quickly declared the settlement as a victory for his law, but don't be deceived. 

According to The Tampa Bay Times:

DeSantis and others who backed the legislation insisted repeatedly that they had no intention of stopping discussions about LGBTQ+ issues in schools. Their goal, they said, was to eliminate what they called gender ideology. They did not provide clear definitions, though, nor did they offer detailed guidelines explaining what is and is not allowed in classrooms. 

Some claimed that not providing clear definitions or guidelines was a deliberate intent of the law. While it didn't offer clear instructions, but the penalties for breaking it were made very clear. This caused a lot of fear and confusion:

The critics claimed the result was a chilling effect that led teachers to stop talking about children’s families, remove books relating to LGBTQ+ characters and themes from their shelves, and to pull back support for LGBTQ+ students. As part of their defense, lawyers for the state pushed back against the allegations that the law lacked clarity. The settlement, announced by lawyers for the plaintiffs, took those arguments and made them real.

 Equality Florida issued a statement which celebrated the settlement:

This agreement successfully dismantles the most harmful impacts of the law, ensuring it cannot be wielded as a tool of discrimination against LGBTQ+ students, educators, and families. The settlement secures several critical protections and clarifications, including:

 Free Expression Restored: Students and teachers can now speak and write freely about sexual orientation and gender identity in classroom participation and assignments. 

 Anti-Bullying Protections Strengthened: The settlement reinforces safeguards against bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

 Gay-Straight Alliances Protected: GSAs are officially protected, providing students with essential support and advocacy spaces. 

Classroom References Clarified: The law cannot prohibit references to LGBTQ+ individuals, relationships, families, or topics in any educational or extracurricular context. 

Non-Discrimination Assured: Targeting LGBTQ+ persons, couples, families, or issues under the guise of this law is explicitly forbidden. 

Extracurricular Activities Protected: Participation in and support of LGBTQ+ student clubs and cultural presentations remain unaffected.

 Nadine Smith, Equality Florida’s Executive Director, ​also added

 “This settlement not only reaffirms the rights of LGBTQ+ students and educators to live and speak openly but also marks a significant step towards rectifying the damage inflicted by the ‘Don't Say Gay or Trans’ law. It's a testament to what we can achieve when we stand united against discrimination and for the dignity of all LGBTQ+ people in Florida. 

 This victory is more than a legal triumph; it's a beacon of hope and a reminder of the power of collective action. It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to a Florida where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can live authentically and without fear. 

 We extend our heartfelt thanks to our legal team at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the brave parents and educators who served as plaintiffs, and all who have supported this cause. Your courage and unity have been instrumental in securing a more inclusive and just Florida.”

Sunday, March 10, 2024

No longer a presidential contender, Fl Gov Ron DeSantis now faces state backlash with his 'war on woke'

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis


A while back, Florida Gov Ron DeSantis was very sure that his "war on woke" would forge a pathway for him to the White House.  It didn't happen. And now with his presidential aspirations gone, DeSantis is facing lawmakers and voters back home tired of his "culture wars."


Florida Republicans may be drifting ever so slightly away from Gov. Ron DeSantis. The GOP-controlled Legislature — no longer tethered to the demands of a governor aiming for the presidency — on Friday ended its annual session in a relatively low-key fashion as lawmakers wrapped up their work and quickly headed home. 

 This year marked the first instances of lawmakers giving mild pushback against the governor, who was widely considered one of the state’s most powerful governors before he dropped out of the presidential race in January. Republican legislators rejected some of his appointees and rebuffed his push to bring gambling to a Miami Beach resort hotel owned by a top DeSantis donor.

 Instead of a session dominated by conservative hot-button issues designed to boost DeSantis’ campaign, legislators wrestled with top priorities of its Republican legislative leaders — including a contentious crackdown on social media for minors and securing hundreds of millions of dollars toward health care initiatives.


 The bill banning rainbow flags from public buildings in Florida sounded like a sure bet. State Rep. David Borrero (R), the legislation’s sponsor, argued that it was needed to prevent schoolchildren from being “subliminally indoctrinated.” That rationale echoed other measures championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as part of his “war on woke.” But instead of sailing through the Republican-dominated legislature, the DeSantis-backed bill died a quick legislative death, making it only as far as one subcommittee. 

 It wasn’t the only culture war proposal from conservative lawmakers to end up in the bill graveyard during the session that ended Friday. One rejected bill would have banned the removal of Confederate monuments. Another would have required transgender people to use their sex assigned at birth on driver's licenses — something the state Department of Motor Vehicles is already mandating. A third proposed forbidding local and state government officials from using transgender people’s pronouns.

  . . . Florida has firmly cemented itself in recent years as ground zero for the nation’s culture wars. The Sunshine State is the birthplace of conservative parental rights group Moms for Liberty, the original law restricting LGBTQ+ discussion in classrooms, one of the strictest abortion laws in the country and legislation that has led to the banning of more books than in any other state in America. But the pushback is growing. 

 Parents and others have organized and protested schoolbook bans. Abortion rights advocates gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot in Florida in November. A bill that would have established “fetal personhood” stalled before it could reach a full vote. Judges are also canceling some of DeSantis’s marquee laws, including the “Stop Woke Act.” A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled Monday that the law “exceeds the bounds” of the Constitution’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression.

 Even the governor recently admitted the state might have gone too far in trying to remove certain books from school shelves, suggesting laws on book challenges should be “tweaked” to prevent “bad actors” from having too much influence.