July, 2023 News (85 Articles with 96,286 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for July, 2023 Enjoying GEAE's 12th Annual Afternoon for Equality. Photo by Michael Mahler.

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Calendar of Local GLBT Events

Up to date listing of events and meetings.

Local and Regional News

Statement from President Joe Biden on Supreme Court Decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis

June 30, 2023 - In America, no person should face discrimination simply because of who they are or who they love. The Supreme Court's disappointing decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis undermines that basic truth, and painfully it comes during Pride month when millions of Americans across the country join together to celebrate the contributions, resilience, and strength of the LGBTQI+ community. While the Court's decision only addresses expressive original designs, I'm deeply concerned that the decision could invite more discrimination against LGBTQI+ Americans. More broadly, today's decision weakens long-standing laws that protect all Americans against discrimination in public accommodations - including people of color, people with disabilities, people of faith, and women.
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2023 LGBT Funds of the Erie Community Foundation Grant Cycle Opening September 14

The LGBT Funds of The Erie Community Foundation offer an annual grant to support projects that address various needs in the LGBTQ+ community which include but are not limited to Safe schools; Youth homelessness; Mental health, substance use, and suicide prevention; Health and wellness; Housing and workplace equality; Family support and recognition.
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LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus shames Erie County Public Library

ERIE, June 21 - Following the removal of a Pride-themed book display at the county library, the Pennsylvania House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus co-chairs state Reps. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, and Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., issued the following statement: "The Erie County Public Library's decision to dismantle a book display celebrating Pride feeds the false and hateful notion that LGBTQ+ individuals pose a threat to children. LGBTQ+ individuals should never have to hide who they truly are and books should not be censored simply because they contain LGBTQ+ characters.
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A statement from 4 members of the Library Advisory Board

June 26, 2023 - Four members of the Erie County Public Library Advisory Board issued the following public statement today regarding the actions of the library's executive director"As county executive-appointed and county council-approved Erie County Public Library Advisory Board members, residents of Erie County, and frequent patrons of the Erie County Public Library system, we stand with the families, LGBTQIA+ organizations, and other members of the Erie community who are disappointed by the actions of the library's executive director; who hope to see the original Pride month book display returned to its original location; and who are worried about how library materials celebrating diverse communities will be presented moving forward.
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Stop by the Erie Gay News table at Pride Fest and enter a drawing to win a gift basket!

Stop by the Erie Gay News table at Pride Fest and enter a drawing to win a gift basket!
Erie Gay News is excited to be at Pride Fest in Perry Square again this Saturday, June 24! We also have a gift basket put together by our editorial board members for you to enter to win! All you have to do to enter the drawing is sign up for our email list! If you are already on the email list, you can enter the drawing by leaving your email address on the form. At the end of Pride Fest, we will have a random drawing from whoever signed up on the form, and the lucky winner will get a gift basket. So, stop by to say Hi and maybe win a gift basket! Erie Gay News sends up to one or two weekly emails with upcoming events, the latest news, and chances to win FREE stuff!
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Erie Pride Picnic 2023

This event is free and open to the public, so bring your buns down to the beach and see what's cooking! The NW PA Pride Alliance would like to invite you to join us for the family-friendly and open to all ages 30th Annual Pride Picnic on Saturday, August 12th, at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle (near Beach 7 - which is handicap accessible) from 1 - 6 pm.
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Aging with Pride Social at Oasis Pub on June 8

Aging with Pride held their kickoff social event on June 8, 2023 at Oasis Pub and Tiki Bar, 3122 W Lake Rd, Erie, PA, 16505. About 25 people attended, and Aging with Pride was thrilled at the turnout. Aging with Pride continues to have variety of meetings and events, including a planning meeting two Sundays a month at 1 PM at Lake Erie Counseling, 1932 W 8th St, Erie PA, a book club the third Saturday of the month at Werner Books, 3514 Liberty St, Erie PA, and other events. The next Aging with Pride social will be July 27 from 6 to 8 PM at Oasis Pub and Tiki Bar. Be sure to stop by their table at Pride Fest on June 24, at Meadville Pride and Street Fair on July 29, and at the 30th Annual Erie Pride Picnic on August 12 at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle. Aging with Pride is an organization of senior LGBT+ members and allies, that develops and sponsors social/recreational and educational events to promote healthy leisure activities, community, and an active, enjoyable lifestyle.
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Come join the Erie Gladigaytors for Monday Night Volleyball!

Not sure what to do on Monday nights? Why not come out to Beach 6 on Presque Isle for some friendly fun in the sun volleyball? Right now, the Erie Gladigaytors ;are planning on starting on Mondays at 7 PM with possibly dinner and drinks afterward.
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Community Spotlight #7: Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE)

What began as Erie Gay Pride. Inc in 2006 evolved in 2011 to become the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality. Under the leadership of Bob Howden and Patrick Smith, with the new name came a new focus as well.
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Sweet Treats at Romolo Chocolates

Sweet Treats at Romolo Chocolates
Looking for a sweet treat? Go no further than Romolo Chocolates. I had the opportunity to talk with owner Tony Stefanelli, chocolatier, about this longtime business. Tony's grandfather, Romolo Stefanelli (for whom Romolo's is named), immigrated to the United States in the early 1900's settling in New York City. In 1926, he and his wife Elizabeth moved to Erie and opened Stefanelli's Candies. It was from his grandfather that Tony learned the art of the chocolatier. In 1993 Stefanelli's Candies was sold outside of the family. Unable to carry on his grandfather's business then, he and his wife Jennie opened Romolo Chocolates a year later in a 3000-square-foot space on West 12th Street. In 2003 they moved the business to a 14,000-square-foot space at its current location in the Frontier Park area. After several expansions, they now occupy a 30,000-square-foot space at that location, adding the Cocoa Cafe and the Mercato Gift Shop to the site. Thanks in part to COVID, they have also expanded their shipping operations.
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Twelfth Annual Afternoon for Equality by GEAE on June 4

Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) hosted its 12th signature annual event, Afternoon for Equality, at the Watson-Curtze Mansion at the Hagen History Center on Sunday, June 4. This annual event was moved back to June to kick off Pride Month! Guests and sponsors of GEAE gathered together for friendship and equality amongst spring and summer flowers by Potratz Floral Shop & Greenhouses while being treated to heavy Italian/Mediterranean hors d'oeuvres by Make It Fabulous Catering, music by the Stephen Trohoske Trio, and an open bar. GEAE's board of directors, Cody Empey, president; Kyle Hannon, vice president; Kim Moscatello-Seastone, secretary; and directors Marsha Dietrich-McLean, Darrin Kinander, April Knapp, Carol Rodgers, and Evan Tucker, host this event as a significant fundraiser that helps empower GEAE to support the region's LGBTQ+ community and its allies through educational programs, social events, and service opportunities. These programs and events strengthen our voice, improve the quality of life in northwestern Pennsylvania, and propel us toward our mission to create a safe and welcoming community for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
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Warren County Pride Speaks at Be Well Collaborative Luncheon

Warren County Pride, Incorporated (WCPI) was invited to speak at Be Well Collaborative's monthly luncheon held at the YMCA of Warren County, PA.
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Meadville Pride and Street Fair 2023 on July 29

NW PA Pride Alliance will return to Meadville for Meadville Pride 2023. The date will be Saturday, July 29, from 1 - 5 pm. This event will be held on upper Chestnut Street and Diamond Park and will include a Pride March, street festival, food trucks, and exhibits by local vendors and artists. Opening Ceremonies will feature speakers and performances to be announced later. After the Opening Ceremonies, please join us in a Pride March around Diamond Park to the Street Fair.
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Yellow Brick Roads LGBTQIA+ Ally Organization Forms to Offer Support

Raising 2 LGBTQIA+ children was a challenge as we struggled to solidify our own marriage and simultaneously meet the individual needs of our other children. There are a million unanswered questions and lessons to be learned and unlearned. The "Yellow Brick Roads LGBTQIA+ Ally Organization" was created to assist parents, family, and friends of LGBTQIA+ individuals with information to help them better understand and support their loved ones.
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TransFamily of NWPA Erie Meetings Moving to Compton's Table Office in July

After pausing regular support group meetings for Pride in June, TransFamily of NW PA will move their Erie meetings to Compton's Table, 3104 State Street, Erie, PA, beginning in July. The Erie meetings are on the fourth Saturday of each month from 2 to 5 PM. Compton's Table office is in the same building as Central Outreach Wellness Center. TransFamily of NW PA additionally has a meeting in Meadville at Empowerment With Grace LLC, 941 Federal Ct Ste 104 (across the street from Julian's Bar & Grill) on the second Saturday of the month, from 2 to 5 PM.
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Erie Pridefest Vendor and Participant information - Note New Vendor Unloading Timeframe and Details!

The 2023 Pride Fest is on Saturday, June 24, in Perry Square. Pride Fest begins rain or shine at 1 PM, with speakers and entertainers expected to last until 5:00 PM. Our Pride Parade will step off from 11th and State at noon and is expected to arrive in Perry Square by 1 PM. Due to enhanced safety measures, access to the streets surrounding Perry Square will be limited during setup Vendors will have access from 10:30 AM to 11:00 AM for unloading materials at the park. Parking around the park will not be accessible. We encourage you to park in the parking ramp at 7th and Peach or surrounding on-street where available once all tabling materials have been dropped off. After 11:00 AM, no vehicles will be permitted inside the barriers. Vendors can use their own carts to transport materials within the park after the streets have been closed.
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Greater Erie Alliance for Equality on Recent HRC Declaration

On June 6, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States. As we all try to take this information in, we know many are feeling various emotions. Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, Inc. (GEAE) is continuously dedicated to supporting the region's LGBTQ+ community and its allies through educational programs, social events, and service opportunities designed to strengthen our voices and improve the quality of life in northwestern Pennsylvania.
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4th Crawford County Pride

4th Crawford County Pride
The 4th Crawford County Pride, hosted by Glenn Tuttle for Meadville City Council, The Libertarian Party of Crawford Pennsylvania, and Adam Leute, will be the first, best, and only Pride celebrating Crawford County. This year's event brings even more businesses, non-profits, food trucks, Odd Atrocity, DJ Jerod Miller, Voter registrations with nominations, family-friendly activities, and an amazing drag show hosted by Misha Michael and friends. Come one, come all to the best and brightest "GayDay" in Crawford County on July 8th, 2023, from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm in Diamond Park. We look forward to seeing you there.
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People's Pride - Swissvale Pride - This Pride Month, We March for Our Freedom

We started People's Pride PGH in 2017 to center the most marginalized within the LGBTQ+ community. For too long, Pride events in the Pittsburgh area, like many across the country, did not prioritize community. Instead, they prioritized corporations.
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City of Erie Seeking Qualified Candidates for Open Positions

City of Erie Seeking Qualified Candidates for Open Positions
The City is seeking qualified candidates for the following positions: Director, Department of Planning and Neighborhood Resources; Chief Planner, Department of Planning and Neighborhood Resources; Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) Project Coordinator; Grant Administrator; Grant Writer.
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Deadline for July 2023 print edition (issue #332) of Erie Gay News is Monday, June 12, comes out Tuesday, June 20!

Deadline for July 2023 print edition (issue #332) of Erie Gay News is Monday, June 12, comes out Tuesday, June 20!
For the next Erie Gay News (issue # 332, cover-dated for July 2023), please send in-person and online events, news items, and other info for late June 2023 and beyond by Monday, June 12. We expect the next edition to come out on Tuesday, June 20. Please note that this issue will be on display at Erie's Pride Fest in Perry Square on Saturday, June 24!
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Entertainment and Travel

Pride Journey: South Africa

I first visited South Africa six years ago with a group of friends. It was one of the most incredible journeys I had ever been on, and I knew I wanted to return. I fell in love with Cape Town and of course, all the animals we saw while on safari, so when the opportunity came to visit the country again, I knew I couldn't pass it up.
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Mid Day Art Break Returns to the Erie Art Museum for the Summer, New Wednesday Hours

ERIE, Pa. - The Erie Art Museum is inviting everyone to take their lunch break at the first Mid-Day Art Break of the 2023 season. On July 5th and Aug. 9th from 11 am - 2 pm with music from noon - 1 pm, the Museum will host a live concert and food trucks on the 5th Street patio. Mid-Day Art Break is free and open to the public. This event will be hosted rain or shine and will move inside the Holstein Gallery in the event of inclement weather.
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Tom Goss Reflects on Living, Loving and Losing in His Ninth Studio Album, Remember What It Feels Like

Tom Goss' ninth studio album, Remember What It Feels Like, is a clear-eyed look at where he has come from and where he finds himself today: a 42-year-old living in Los Angeles who has lived and loved and lost-and who cherishes all of his memories, both sweet and bitter, as essential parts of his story and identity. The album is an expansive 15-track collection of fast, fun, summery pop songs punctuated by beautiful ballads and raucous rock. Featured artists include comedian and musician Deven Green, hip hop diva Maya La Maya, wry chanteuse Anne Reburn, and Goss's longtime collaborator de ROCHE. The album drops July 7 and will be available on iTunes, Spotify, and all major digital platforms, along with its new single, "Enemy of Good." Goss will support the release of the album and single with a concert in Washington DC featuring de ROCHE and charting pop star Bright Light Bright Light, followed by shows in New York City, Provincetown, and other cities to be announced.
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Erie Art Museum Artist in Residence Ana Balcazar Features New Exhibition Entre Plantas y Mujeres

ERIE, Pa. - Entre Plantas y Mujeres will open July 13 in the Frenzel Gallery. An opening reception will take place at 6 pm with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and a tour of the exhibition. The artist and curator, Ana Balcazar will debut a newly commissioned body of work, created during her residency at the Museum in response to the Museum's Collection. "We are thrilled to have Balcazar's premiere solo museum exhibition in the United States as our inaugural artist residency," states Laura Domencic, Executive Director of the Erie Art Museum. Entre Plantas y Mujeres(between plants and women) will feature both Balcazar's works and curated Museum Collection art pieces.
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Nicole Reinhold Martin Visits Erie Art Museum at Painterly Polaroids Exhibition Opening Reception

ERIE, Pa. - The Erie Art Museum will host an opening reception for Painterly Polaroids with Nicole Reinhold Martin on Sat. July 24 from 4 - 6 pm. Painterly Polaroids is on view in the Bacon Gallery from June 8, 2023 - April 2024. Refreshments and a cash bar will be available.
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Lotz of Tea Talk Show on Facebook and YouTube

Lotz of Tea with Mona s back with an all new and improved outlined that's focused on "Helping Hurting Hearts!" Hostess Mona Lotz and her cohost, Licensed Therapist Large Marge, bring forth topics that many face within the LGBTQ+ community. Along with their guest, they discuss the power of overcoming the pain and finding peace within. Join them on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at 7PM EST. on Facebook (Lotz of Tea and Mona Lotz page) and YouTube (@lotzofteawithmona232).
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New doc "Mama Bears" follows Christian mothers who fiercely advocate for their LGBTQ+ children (Premieres June 20 on PBS)

New doc 'Mama Bears' follows Christian mothers who fiercely advocate for their LGBTQ+ children (Premieres June 20 on PBS)
(San Francisco, CA) March 17, 2023 - Spread across the country and connected through private Facebook support groups, a network of women call themselves "mama bears," because of the ferocity with which they fight for the rights of their LGBTQ+ children. Though many of these mothers may have grown up as fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, they are now risking losing friends, families, and faith communities to champion their kids-even if it challenges their belief systems.
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Pride Journey: Athens, Georgia

Everyone knows that I am a sucker for small-city charm, so I decided to venture about an hour and a half outside of Atlanta to Athens, Georgia, home of rock bands R.E.M., Widespread Panic, and of course, the B-52's. As soon as I drove into the college town, I knew I was in for a treat. I love exploring these destinations as they tend to offer tons of local restaurants and boutiques which ooze with character.
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Local Faces and Photos

June 2023 G2H2

G2H2 held another fun social at Pier 6 Rooftop Bar & Restaurant, 6 Sassafras Pier, Erie, PA. Gay Guy/Girl Happy Hour (G2H2) is a monthly social event at a different location on the first Friday of each month.
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Political, Activism and Legal

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi Celebrated Her More than Three and a Half Decades of U.S. Congressional Service with the National AIDS Memorial on June 17

SAN FRANCISCO, June 17, 2023 - Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi celebrated her decades of service in the United States Congress at the National AIDS Memorial Grove ("the Grove") during its June 17 Community Volunteer Workday. The commemorative event coincided with the anniversary of her swearing in to Congress and highlighted her justice-centered values of Love, Action & Leadership.
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Lambda Legal Applauds Supreme Court Ruling Affirming Limits on Religious Accommodation in the Workplace

(Washington, DC, June 29, 2023) - The U.S. Supreme Court today affirmed that employers may consider the burdens imposed by a requested religious accommodation on coworkers in determining whether the accommodation would harm the employer's business. The ruling established that to deny an accommodation request, an employer must show that the burden of granting it would result in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business.
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Federal Judge Blocks Tennessee's Ban on Trans Youth's Health Care

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - June 28, 2023 - A federal judge has blocked enforcement of a Tennessee law banning best practice medical care for trans youth up to age 18 while several families' legal challenge against the law proceeds in court.
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ACLU Reacts to Gov. Hobbs' Executive Order Ensuring Access to Gender-Affirming Health Care

PHOENIX - June 28, 2023 - Gov. Hobbs issued an executive order that removes the ban on gender-affirming surgery for transgender state employees. In response to this landmark order, the American Civil Liberties Union will file a motion with the court to approve a final class settlement in its case Toomey v. State of Arizona, a lawsuit filed in 2019 by the ACLU of Arizona, ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, and law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, that challenged the exclusion of gender-affirming care from state employees' health care plan.
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HRC Foundation Launches National HIV Self-Testing Initiative: "Wellness in Action"

WASHINGTON, D.C. - June 28, 2023 - Today, on the heels of National HIV Testing Day, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, announces the expansion of the first-ever nationwide HIV self-testing initiative, Wellness in Action.
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Lambda Legal Sues Premera Blue Cross on Behalf of Transgender Teen Denied Needed Medical Care

(Seattle, WA, June 27, 2023) - Today, Lambda Legal, Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore Hamburger PLLC, and QLaw Foundation of Washington filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of 15-year-old transgender adolescent A.B. and his parents challenging Premera Blue Cross' arbitrary and categorical policy to deny coverage for gender-affirming chest surgery for patients under 18, regardless of the patient's medical needs. Identified by his initials, A.B.'s medical providers recommended gender-affirming chest surgery as treatment for his gender dysphoria, but Premera has refused to authorize coverage for the surgery that A.B., his parents, and medical providers all agree is necessary and appropriate.
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Transgender Woman Living with HIV Files Lawsuit After Being Held in Solitary Confinement for Over Six Years

(Jefferson City, MO, June 27, 2023) - Today, Lambda Legal, the MacArthur Justice Center and law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon sued the Missouri Department of Corrections ("MODOC") on behalf of Jane Roe, a formerly incarcerated transgender woman living with HIV, who was put in solitary confinement for over six years between 2015 and 2021 while held at the Jefferson City Correctional Center ("JCCC") due to an unconstitutional and discriminatory policy against people living with HIV. The severe physical and psychological harms associated with solitary confinement - much of which Ms. Roe endured - are well-researched and documented. In fact, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has determined that solitary confinement lasting beyond 15 days constitutes torture or cruel, inhumane, and or degrading treatment in violation of international human rights law.
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California Assembly Passes Constitutional Amendment Protecting Marriage Equality With Bipartisan Support

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - June 26, 2023 - Marking the 10-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which restored marriage equality in California, the California Assembly passed a proposed constitutional amendment to protect marriage equality in the Golden State with bipartisan support on Monday. Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 (ACA 5), authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) and Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would amend the California Constitution to protect the fundamental freedom to marry and remove the unconstitutional and discriminatory language from Proposition 8. Doing so would help safeguard against any future attempts to restrict marriage rights for same-sex or interracial couples.
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More Than 75 Leading Businesses Take Action for LGBTQ+ Community, Speak Out Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills; Sign Human Rights Campaign's "Count Us In" Pledge

WASHINGTON - June 26, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights advocacy organization, announced that over 75 large businesses and dozens of small businesses have signed on to its Count Us In pledge. Pledge signatories represent a cross-sector commitment from businesses to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community during an unprecedented state of emergency. The pledge brings businesses together in allyship for the LGBTQ+ community while sending a powerful message to extremist lawmakers advancing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, that equality for all is not negotiable.
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Eight Years After Historic Victory in Obergefell v. Hodges, Human Rights Campaign Celebrates Amidst State of Emergency For LGBTQ+ Americans

WASHINGTON - June 26, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, marks the eighth anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court case that granted same-sex couples the right to marry across the United States. Since the decision, public support for LGBTQ+ people has grown significantly, with nearly 80% of Americans favoring nondiscrimination laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing - an 11% increase since 2015. Additionally, public polling has shown a historic increase in support for marriage equality, reaching an all-time high of 71% in 2022 according to Gallup. Marking this trend is the reintroduction of the Equality Act, which would end a patchwork of state and local laws by protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination nationwide and was reintroduced in Congress on Wednesday, June 21, 2023.
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Supreme Court Rejects Appeal from Public Charter School Seeking Permission to Violate Students' Constitutional Rights

WASHINGTON - June 26, 2023 - The Supreme Court of the United States today let stand a federal court decision holding that a North Carolina public charter school must respect its students' constitutional rights and that the schools' "skirts only" rule for girls violates civil rights laws.
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One Year After Supreme Court Overturned Roe v. Wade, Human Rights Campaign Remains Committed to Fight for Reproductive Freedom

WASHINGTON - June 24, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, marks the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned a half-century of precedent by reversing Roe v. Wade to end abortion rights supported by a majority of Americans. This affects everyone who wants to have autonomy over their body and medical decisions as the ability to receive abortion care became significantly more difficult - often outright impossible - for millions of people across the country, including LGBTQ+ people.
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Lambda Legal Condemns Court Ruling Upholding Tennessee's Anti-Transgender Birth Certificate Policy

(Nashville, Tennessee - June 23, 2023) - Late yesterday, a federal court judge upheld Tennessee's discriminatory anti-transgender birth certificate policy that will not allow transgender people to correct the gender marker on their Tennessee birth certificates, leaving them grappling with inconsistent government identity documents. Tennessee is one of only a handful of states left in the country that still categorically prohibit transgender people from correcting their birth certificates to accurately reflect their identity.
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Human Rights Campaign Recognizes the 51st Anniversary of Title IX, Pledges to Continue Work to Further Important Legacy of Equal Opportunity

WASHINGTON - June 23, 2023 - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization - recognizes the 51st anniversary of Title IX, a groundbreaking 1972 law passed to protect individuals from discrimination in education on the basis of their sex.
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Human Rights Campaign Endorses Pro-Equality Openly LGBTQ+ U.S. House Incumbents for Re-Election

WASHINGTON, DC - June 22, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign PAC (HRC PAC) announced its endorsement of nine pro-equality openly LGBTQ+ members of the U.S. House for reelection: Becca Balint (VT-At-Large), Angie Craig (MN-02), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Eric Sorensen (IL-17), Mark Takano (CA-39) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15).
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Victory! Court Voids Florida's Policy Prohibiting Medicaid Coverage of Gender-Affirming Care

(TALLAHASSEE, FL - June 21, 2023 ) Today, a U.S. District Court Judge struck down Florida's anti-transgender health care rule that denied the state's transgender Medicaid beneficiaries coverage for evidence-based, widely accepted gender-affirming medical care. The ruling came in Dekker v. Weida, a federal lawsuit challenging the rule filed by Lambda Legal, Southern Legal Counsel, Florida Health Justice Project, the National Health Law Program, and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.
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As Congress Re-Introduces Equality Act, Human Rights Campaign President Calls for its Urgent Passage, Testifies Before Senate Judiciary Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. - June 21 2023 - Today, as leaders in the U.S. House and Senate plan to reintroduce the Equality Act - historic federal legislation that would ensure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people everywhere - Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson called for its swift and urgent passage, telling members of a Senate panel that "LGBTQ+ people of the United States of America are living in a state of emergency." Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people, Robinson said that HRC officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. for the first time in its more than 40-year history following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year.
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New MAP Report: How Opponents of LGBTQ Equality Also Attack Voting Rights and Democracy to Make Fighting Back More Difficult for Everyone

June 21, 2023 - Today, the Movement Advancement Project released the third in its Under Fire: The War on LGBTQ People in America report series. This new report, Under Fire: Erecting Systems and Structural Barriers to Make Change Harder, focuses on how attacks on voting rights and democracy make it more difficult to advance LGBTQ equality-and to counter anti-LGBTQ attacks.
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Human Rights Campaign Condemns North Carolina Senate for Passing Anti-Trans Sports Ban

Raleigh, North Carolina - June 20, 2023 - - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization - condemned the North Carolina Senate for passing House Bill 574, which would prohibit transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.
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Federal Judge Overturns Arkansas' Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Youth

Little Rock, Ark. - June 20, 2023 - A federal district court judge has struck down and permanently enjoined an Arkansas law that aimed to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth, finding the law violates the Constitutional rights of transgender youth, their parents, and their medical providers. The court held that plaintiffs prevailed on all their claims, finding the ban violated the Equal Protection Clause, the Due Process Clauses, and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
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LGBTQ Equality Laws & Policies Update: June 2023

2023 has seen a record number of political attacks and continued threats against LGBTQ people, especially transgender people. This update covers LGBTQ equality laws enacted from May 5 - June 13, 2023. Given the high number of LGBTQ-related bills introduced and signed into law, this is a longer update than usual. Our maps for each policy area are updated in real-time as new laws are enacted. Full details for this update are available here.
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Federal Court Blocks Indiana Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

INDIANAPOLIS - June 16, 2023 - A federal court today issued a preliminary injunction blocking an Indiana law that prohibits health care professionals from providing or even referring transgender young people for medically necessary health care. The law was set to go into effect on July 1. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Indiana on behalf of four transgender youth and their families as well as medical provider, Mosaic Health.
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Human Rights Campaign Foundation Joins U=U National HIV Task Force as Inaugural Member

WASHINGTON - June 15, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, announced its inaugural membership in the first-ever U=U National Task Force organized by the Prevention Access Campaign (PAC), alongside partner organizations in the HIV and health equity space. The task force will work to educate and move federal health partners to implement U=U into their guidelines and policies and elevate awareness. Together, the task force's primary goal is to measure, optimize, and scale up the impact U=U has on improving the health, well-being, and emotional wellness of the more than 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S.
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ICYMI: Human Rights Campaign Calls on House to Reject Dangerous Anti-LGBTQ+ Language in Veterans Affairs Funding Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. - June 14, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, called on the House of Representatives to reject last-minute additions during an Appropriations Committee markup of anti-LGBTQ+ language. The language attempts to ban gender-affirming care for veterans, allow for new forms of religious discrimination, and prohibit the display of LGBTQ+ pride flags, in the FY24 Military Construction/Veterans Affairs appropriations bill.
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Amid Historic Wave of Anti-LGBTQ+ Attacks, Human Rights Campaign and SHOWTIME Launch Fourth Year of QUEER TO STAY, an LGBTQ+ Small Business Initiative

WASHINGTON - June 13, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, and SHOWTIME, announced the fourth consecutive year of "QUEER TO STAY: An LGBTQ+ Business Preservation Initiative" (QTS) that aims to uplift and preserve small businesses that serve the LGBTQ+ community; particularly businesses that are owned by or empower LGBTQ+ people of color, women and the transgender community.
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Human Rights Campaign Applauds Governor Gretchen Whitmer for Establishing LGBTQ+ Commission, Continuing Historic Progress For LGBTQ+ Rights in Michigan

Lansing, MICHIGAN - June 12, 2023 - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization - commends Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for establishing an LGBTQ+ commission.
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Human Rights Campaign Commemorates Seven Years Since the Pulse Nightclub Shooting

WASHINGTON, D.C. - June 12 - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization - remembers the lives of the 49 people, most of them young, LGBTQ+, and Latinx, who were killed in an act of LGBTQ+ hate seven years ago. The commemoration comes with a commitment to honor them with action, just days after HRC declared a State of Emergency for LGTBQ+ Americans as anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and legislation ratchets up at the state level across the country.
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Outright International Calls on the World Bank to Suspend Loans to the Ugandan Government

New York, New York - 12 June 2023 - Outright International supports the call of Ugandan LGBTQ advocates who have asked the World Bank to stop current and future loan payments to the Ugandan government in the wake of the adoption of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, a piece of legislation that seeks to eradicate LGBTQ people. World Bank financing supports government poverty alleviation programs, including health care, education, housing, jobs, and economic infrastructure projects. The new law undermines these programs by mandating discrimination against LGBTQ people in all sectors of Uganda's economy.
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Out Leadership Statement on new White House Actions to Protect LGBTQ+ Americans

NEW YORK CITY, NY - June 8, 2023 - As President Joe Biden announces new measures to protect LGBTQ+ Americans ahead of tonight's largest White House Pride Month gathering in history, Todd Sears, founder and CEO of Out Leadership, the premier global LGBTQ+ organization harnessing the power of business to drive equality, today offered the following statement: "LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency every day - and it is a result of the anti-LGBTQ+ climate rising to an all-time high in many states across the country. The introduction of over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills attacking our community has economic, talent and human consequences for LGBTQ+ Americans and their families, which directly impacts a business's ability to conduct business in a state.
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Human Rights Campaign Applauds Biden Administration for its Continued Support of LGBTQ+ Americans Amid Unprecedented Threats

WASHINGTON, D.C. - June 8, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, applauded President Biden's announcement today that the administration will roll out a series of actions to protect the rights, safety, and dignity of the LGBTQ+ community. The announcement comes at a critical moment, just two days after HRC declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people - the first time in HRC's more than 40 year history - following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeping through state houses this year. So far in 2023, more than 525 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in 41 states, with 78 bills enacted into law as of June 7 - more than double the number of bills enacted last year.
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EEOC Launches "Level the Paying Field" Equal Pay Video Campaign

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is kicking off a social media video campaign called "Level The Paying Field" to commemorate the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 on June 10.
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Human Rights Campaign Denounces Pence's 2024 White House Bid, Pledges to Defeat Presidential Candidate with the Longest Record of Stoking Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate

WASHINGTON, D.C. - June 7, 2023 - The Human Rights Campaign - America's largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization - released the following statement in response to today's news that Former Vice President Mike Pence has officially filed his papers to run for President in 2024: "In the past two presidential elections, the majority of American people rejected the Trump-Pence ticket and the hateful, theocratic extremism associated with MAGA leadership, said Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson. "Mike Pence's vision for the country is dangerously out of step with the average American's views on freedom and equality, and his potential presidency would create devastating consequences for the safety of the LGBTQ+ community and the ability of our people to live as full members of society. At a time when far-right groups are influencing horrific legislation in state legislatures like never before, we will need to ensure that Pence, who has deep ties to the likes of Alliance Defending Freedom and Focus on the Family, will never replicate the same hate from the most powerful position in the country.
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HRC Officially Declares 'State of Emergency' for LGBTQ+ Americans; Issues National Warning and Guidebook to Ensure Safety for LGBTQ+ Residents and Travelers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - June 6, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization - officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time in its more than 40-year history, following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year. A new report released by HRC today - LGBTQ+ Americans Under Attack - details more than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year's number, which was previously the worst year on record.
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Advocates Hail Court Order blocking Florida's Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

(TALLAHASSEE, FL - June 6, 2023) Today, a U.S. District Court Judge issued a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of Florida's discriminatory ban on gender-affirming medical care for trans youth. The case - Doe v. Ladapo- was brought by Southern Legal Counsel, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Human Rights Campaign on behalf of nine families and enjoins enforcement of the ban as to the three families on whose behalf the injunction was sought.
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BREAKING: Louisiana Legislature Passes Bills Targeting LGBTQ+ Youth

Baton Rouge, Louisiana - June 5, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, condemns Louisiana legislators for advancing three discriminatory bills targeting LGBTQ+ youth. The Senate passed an extreme Gender Affirming Care Ban (HB 648), "Don't Say LGBTQ+" Bill (HB 466) and Pronoun Restriction Bill (HB 81), which will be sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards for signature or veto.
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Lambda Legal: Historic LGBTQ+ Legal Organization Celebrates 50 Years During Pride Month Nationwide

New York / Los Angeles, June 5, 2023 - Lambda Legal is proud to celebrate Pride Month this June by participating in events across the county, celebrating the diversity and resilience of the LGBTQ+ community and everyone living with HIV, and reaffirming our unwavering dedication to advancing legal rights as we have done for the past 50 years nationwide.
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Advocates Defend Connecticut's Inclusive Student Athletics Policy in Historic Hearing

NEW YORK - June 5, 2023 - Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation of Connecticut will defend the state's transgender-inclusive student athletics policy on behalf of two transgender athletes before a full panel hearing of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. This is the first federal case concerning the rights of transgender athletes to be heard by a full appeals court panel.
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Equality California Applauds Newly-Released Joint Letter on Book Bans and Inclusive Education

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - June 2, 2023 - Equality California, the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang in response to a joint letter from Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta, and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond cautioning against book bans and and ensuring that California students receive accurate and inclusive classroom instruction, including access to unbiased instructional materia
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All In For Equality Coalition Statement on Pride Month After a Dangerous Regular Legislative Session for LGBTQIA+ Texans

AUSTIN, Texas - June 1 marks the start of Pride Month for the state's LGBTQIA+ community, which begins just days after the 88th Texas Legislature adjourned its regular session sine die on Monday.
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Human Rights Campaign Calls Out Pentagon for Giving in to Bigoted, Far-Right Pressure by Canceling Drag Performance at Military Base on First Day of Pride Month

WASHINGTON, DC - June 1, 2023 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization - responded to the Department of Defense's decision to cancel a drag performance at Nellis Air Force Base, a discriminatory move that comes on the first day of Pride month. Despite the fact that previous drag events have been held at the Nevada base at least twice before, and with the military's long history of supporting drag entertainment, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other officials called for today's performance to be canceled following pressure from Congressman Matt Gaetz and other extremist lawmakers.
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Families Sue to Block Idaho's Ban on Health Care for Trans Youth

BOISE - June 1, 2023 - An Idaho law criminalizing gender-affirming health care for transgender youth is being challenged by families in federal court.
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Human Rights Campaign: Pride is More than a Parade

WASHINGTON - June 1, 2023 -Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, is marking the first day of Pride Month 2023, with a video message that centers the crisis facing the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender and nonbinary people, and emphasizes the importance of activism during Pride.
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On LGBTQ Families Day, a New Report Calls for Updating State Parentage Laws to Protect Children and LGBTQ Families

June 1, 2023 - Five leading national organizations that advocate for LGBTQ families joined forces on a new report, Relationships at Risk: Why We Need to Update State Parentage Laws to Protect Children and Families: Movement Advancement Project (MAP), COLAGE, Family Equality, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and NCLR.
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The Best and Worst States for LGBTQ+ Equality

NEW YORK CITY, NY - This year for the first time since Out Leadership began publishing the State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index five years ago, the nation's overall average score on LGBTQ+ equality dropped -1.14 points. The net negative rating for the country is largely due to over 500 anti-equality bills introduced at the state level this legislative cycle.
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Health

National Health Law Program Files Amicus in Braidwood v. Becerra

June 28 -2023 - The National Health Law Program, on behalf of 17 Medicaid and health advocacy organizations, filed an amicus brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Court is considering the case Braidwood v. Becerra, which challenges the requirement in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that most health plans cover certain preventive services without cost-sharing. The amicus brief explains to the court that, if successful, the Braidwood challenge could have profound, harmful consequences for individuals and families who are insured through the Medicaid program.
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PrEP4All and PIPLI Commend DOJ for Continuing to Press Its Case in U.S. v. Gilead

PrEP4All commends the Department of Justice (DOJ) for taking action and urging a Delaware federal judge to overturn the recent verdict in US v. Gilead, which, should it stand, would let Gilead off the hook for infringing on patents held by the federal government. On May 17th, PrEP4All along with the Public Interest Patent Law Institute (PIPLI) and with legal representatives from Columbia Law School's Science, Health, and Information Clinic released a statement expressing extreme disappointment in the verdict in U.S. v. Gilead and calling on DOJ to continue to press its case and potentially call for a new trial.
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Heroes needed now: Give blood or platelets

[June 22, 2023] -The American Red Cross wants everyone to enjoy a safe and fun Fourth of July, which includes ensuring a strong blood supply for patients in hospitals across the country. There has been a concerning shortfall in blood donations in recent weeks, and the upcoming holiday could put a further strain on donations, as millions celebrate with family vacations and other seasonal activities. Donors of all blood types, especially those with type B negative or O negative blood as well as platelet donors, are needed to make an appointment to give now to ensure blood remains available for patients this summer.
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APA supports College Board's refusal to delete sexual orientation, gender identity content from Florida's high school AP Psychology curriculum and test

WASHINGTON - The American Psychological Association has voiced unqualified support for the College Board's refusal to accede to a demand by Florida to delete content regarding sexual orientation and gender identity from its curriculum in Advanced Placement Psychology and the AP Psychology Exam.
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Register Now for PrEP In Black America’s Mpox Webinar

Calling all public health and sexual health activists! Please join PrEP4All, PrEP In Black America, Treatment Action Group, and AVAC on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for a webinar on mpox. We'll cover the latest research and updates on how vaccines and treatments work, risk factors for severe symptoms and disease, and the ongoing fight to address disparities in infection rates and uptake of vaccines, treatments and tests that impact Black communities.
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Potential Rise for New Mpox Cases

In the US, mpox cases (formerly monkeypox) have reduced since August 2022. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gets reports of cases from ongoing transmission in the US. From April 17 to May 5, 2023, a total of 12 confirmed and one probable case of mpox were reported to the Chicago Department of Public Health. All cases were men showing symptoms. None of the patients have been hospitalized. Nine cases were among men who had received 2 JYNNEOS vaccine doses. Vaccination is one of the best prevention measures. New cases among vaccinated people can occur. People who have completed their two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine series may experience less severe symptoms than those who have not. Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has mpox is at risk. There are recommended prevention steps and including vaccination if you are exposed to mpox or have a higher risk of being exposed. Vaccination can help protect yourself and your loved ones.
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Red Cross: Blood supply facing stress, donors needed

(June 7, 2023) - A concerning shortfall in blood donations last month could stress the American Red Cross blood supply. The Red Cross collected over 26,000 fewer blood donations than needed in May to meet the needs of patients. The need for blood is constant, with someone needing a blood transfusion in the U.S. every two seconds. Platelet donors are especially needed at this time. The public can help ensure continuity for patients by making an appointment to give blood or platelets now and in the weeks ahead.
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

Danger, take Note

The LGBT community is in serious danger, and we as a community should begin to take note. While those of us in urban centers and in strongly blue states might feel better about our position in society and in politics, those in mostly red states are having their rights taken away at an alarming rate. You might believe that it only pertains to the trans and drag community, but rest assured that is just a starting point. Right-wing politicians are now going after all LGBT people, and they aren't trying to hide it.
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Contests

Enter to win an audiobook of Holiday Gay: Tales of Love, Lust, Romance and Other Seasonal Gifts by Maitland McDonagh!

Enter to win an audiobook of Holiday Gay: Tales of Love, Lust, Romance and Other Seasonal Gifts by Maitland McDonagh!
Enter to win an audiobook of Holiday Gay: Tales of Love, Lust, Romance and Other Seasonal Gifts by Maitland McDonagh! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, July 18, and Tuesday, August 8.
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Enter to win an audiobook of Jingle Balls - A Christmas Anthology by Cecilia Tan!

Enter to win an audiobook of Jingle Balls - A Christmas Anthology by Cecilia Tan!
Enter to win an audiobook of Jingle Balls - A Christmas Anthology by Cecilia Tan! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, July 11, and Tuesday, August 1.
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Enter to win an audiobook of A Christmas Carl: A Gay Retelling of A Christmas Carol by Ryan Field!

Enter to win an audiobook of A Christmas Carl: A Gay Retelling of A Christmas Carol by Ryan Field!
Enter to win an audiobook of A Christmas Carl: A Gay Retelling of A Christmas Carol by Ryan Field! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, July 4 and Tuesday, July 25.
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