October, 2023 News (77 Articles with 66,835 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for October, 2023 Caitlyn enjoying the potluck at the TransFamily Picnic. Photo by Michael Mahler.

This began publication in December 2002 after a hiatus

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Local and Regional News

Mauritius Supreme Court legalizes homosexuality

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of Mauritius has declared the country's ban on same-sex intimacy 'discriminatory' and 'unconstitutional'.
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Harvest in the Harbor: Ashtabula Local Food Festival

Harvest in the Harbor: Ashtabula Local Food Festival
Harvest in the Harbor, held annually on Bridge Street in Ashtabula OH, will take on new meaning this year as organizers seek to emphasize the harvest component. This year's event is being billed as an Ashtabula Local Food Festival and will highlight food produced within the region. This multi-layered, all-day event will take place on Bridge Street on Sunday, October 8th from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and will feature a variety of activities and information.
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People's Pride PGH 2024 to relocate to Wilkinsburg

We are pleased to announce that People's Pride 2024 will take place on Sunday, June 30, and will relocate to Turner Elementary School in Wilkinsburg.
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The Silent Secret - SafeNet hosts 21st Annual Medical Conference

(ERIE, Pa) SafeNet's 21th Annual Medical Conference on Intimate Partner Violence will be held Tuesday, October 3, from 8 am until 4 pm at the Ambassador Conference Center, 7794 Peach Street, in Erie.
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It's Spooky Season for the Whole Family with Hocus Pocus and Trick or Treating at the Eerie Horror Fest

September 28th, 2023 - Erie, Pennsylvania - The Eerie Horror Fest is not just about thrills and chills for the grown-ups; we've got a ghoulishly good time planned for the little monsters too! Join us on Saturday, October 7th, for a day of family-friendly activities that promise to enchant and entertain.
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Recovery is Community NWPA Listening Sessions for Improving Treatments for Drug and Alcohol Use

Recovery is Community NWPA wants to hear about what community members think should be done locally to improve treatment for drugs and alcohol use. The UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care will be hosting listening sessions where individuals who identify LGBTQIA+, a person of color, and/or loved ones of someone who uses drugs can share their experiences, thoughts, and ideas about using drugs/alcohol, seeking treatment, and recovery.
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Niagara Pride Partners with GLYS to Expand GSA Grants Program, Application Portal Now Open

Niagara Pride recently secured grant funding from the M&T Charitable Foundation in order to help expand our GSA Grants Program. Additionally, we have partnered with GLYS of WNY to help maximize the impact these grants can have on local schools.
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Safe Journey Masquerade Ball on October 14

You are invited to be a part of our upcoming journey- the second Masquerade Ball, Unmasking the Faces of Domestic Violence an extraordinary event dedicated to supporting victims of domestic violence in our local community . The Masquerade Ball is symbolic of this hidden epidemic in our communities. Everyday victims wear masks to hide the pain and suffering they endure.
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Voters Guide Next Month

Voters Guide Next Month
Please note that the next issue of Erie Gay News, which will come out the night of Tuesday, October 24, will feature our Voters Guide. The Queer community must show up to vote in every election, and the November 7 municipal election is no exception. We will have responses from our LGBTQIA+ candidate questionnaire that we hope will enable you to make an informed choice when you go to the polls. Polls are open from 7 AM to 8 PM on Tuesday, November 7. The last day to register to vote in the upcoming election is October 23, and the deadline to apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot is October 31.
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Aging With Pride in No-Hate Photo

On July 22, six members of the Erie Aging With Pride organization traveled to Cleveland to participate in the latest round of photos for the national No-Hate campaign. The No-Hate campaign began in response to Proposal 8 in California but has grown to stand against discrimination of all kinds. There are currently more than 56,000 portraits in the No-Hate gallery, and it continues to grow as photographers travel the country.
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Lake Erie Gala Nov 15-19

The annual Lake Erie Gala will be held November 15th - 19th, 2023 at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel in beautiful Erie, Pennsylvania. The gala is organized by Erie Sisters and Brothers.
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LGBTQ+ Elders and Affirming Community Program on September 20

On September 20, approximately 70 people attended a workshop on the topic of "LGBTQ+ Elders and Affirming Community: A Film and Conversation for Erie's Future." The program was held at the Tom Ridge Environment Center and was sponsored by the LGBT Funds of the Erie Community Foundation, UPMC Western Behavioral Health, UPMC Health Plan, Mercyhurst University, Stairways Behavioral Health, Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC), and Saint Mary's Home of Erie.
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TransFamily of NWPA Holds Summer Picnic

One of the summer's best traditions took place on August 19th, with TransFamily of NWPA holding its annual picnic on August 19th at Presque Isle State Park. The organization celebrated eleven years of supporting trans joy and family bonds. It brought together people from the transgender and gender-diverse community for an afternoon of fun, community, and even kayaking! TransFamily of NWPA continues to demonstrate acceptance of people for who they are and promotes how our differences make us special. The best part was the shared potluck meal and sweets for everyone in the hope they continue to form a deeper understanding of one another.
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Intersex: Representing the I in LGBTQIA+

Intersex: Representing the I in LGBTQIA+
For the past 27 years the United States marks Intersex Awareness Day by promoting respect and dignity for intersex people. This year on October 26th, Intersex Awareness Day will continue to raise awareness about the challenges intersex individuals face. InterAct, an organization advocating for the rights of children born with intersex traits, states roughly 1.7% of people are born intersex, some intersex traits are noticed at birth, and most surgeries to change intersex traits happen in infancy. May Intersex Awareness Day educate the public, medical professionals, and policymakers about the importance of respecting intersex people's bodily autonomy and human rights. Most importantly, may Intersex Awareness Day bring support and solidarity to the intersex community by letting them know they are not alone, and their experiences are valid.
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Erie County Mobilizes Against Censorship

Erie County Mobilizes Against Censorship
After the removal of the "Read with Pride" display from the Blasco Memorial Erie County Public Library, the local community sprang into action. Libraries play a critical role in promoting social justice and human rights by advocating for equality and fair treatment. The "Read In" brought many people to the library in peaceful protest. Then, our community moved to speak out at Erie County Council meetings as a call to action for council members while reminding them representation in our libraries matters. In response to the summer's censorship incidents, Council member Andre Horton introduced a resolution to prevent future removals of materials based on LGBTQIA+ content. On Tuesday, August 29th, a diverse group of community members packed the council meeting, passionately supporting Horton's resolution. One memorable moment came when a young scout, part of the LGBTQIA+ community, eloquently expressed the importance of access to diverse books. This heartfelt plea, along with others, prompted the Erie County Council to unanimously pass the resolution, marking a significant step toward greater inclusion and diversity in Erie's public libraries. May our libraries always serve as safe havens for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
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Exciting Workshops and Industry Panels Unveiled for the Eerie Horror Fest

September 19th, 2023 - Erie Pennsylvania - The Eerie Horror Fest is proud to announce a pair of thrilling and insightful industry events set to captivate horror enthusiasts and filmmakers alike. These events help contribute to an unforgettable convention experience for horror fans, creatives, and the curious at the Warner Theater from Wednesday, October 4th through Saturday, October 7th.
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Community Spotlight #10: Identity/Edinboro

Edinboro Identity was founded over 40 years ago as a safe haven for LGBT+ students and their allies. Though it has undergone several name changes, Identity stands proud as one of the oldest clubs on Edinboro's campus. Today, our primary mission has not changed since the club's founding and has expanded to cover LGBT+ history and create a relaxing environment for our members to be who they are. While our education meetings are crucial, we also enjoy the meetings where we watch movies, play games, and generally bond while doing a fun activity. We have a yearly Halloween party, aptly dubbed 'Halloqueen,' for students to dress how they want without societal judgment and gender norms. This past spring, we collaborated with the GASE club of Penn State Behrend and Mercyhurst's SAGA club for a clothing drive, the efforts of which were donated to Compton's Table in Erie. The officers of Identity are considering putting on a drag show open to everyone in the spring as a fun way to bring flair to campus. While Identity is a club reserved for Edinboro students, we are always open to guest speakers who want to present their knowledge to our members. The best way to get in contact with us is through our Instagram, which is @identityboro. There, we post about LGBT+ recognition days and a great way to see what Identity is doing during the school year.
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Board Members sought for NW PA Pride Alliance, Inc

NWPA Pride Alliance is looking for applicants to fill positions with our board of directors. NWPA Pride Alliance is seeking to diversify its membership to best address the needs of the LGBT community, persons of all sexual orientations, gender identifications, marital status, ethnic backgrounds and educational experiences are welcome to apply. All positions are unpaid, volunteer positions. We are looking for people who want to become more involved with the LGBT community, working with our members to extend outreach to the community as a whole.
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Ace Week Oct 22-28

Grab your cake and Asexual pride flag because Ace Week 2023 is from October 22nd to the 28th. Ace Week is about celebrating community, history, and the diversity within the Ace community worldwide. Education about Asexuality is also vital for the Week, so listen to the many activists, artists, and anyone in our community with something to say.
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A New Miss Erie Is Crowned!

We have a winner! This past August, Former Miss Erie, Debbie, handed down the crown to her successor. The 2023 iteration of the drag pageant brought six contenders to the stage. This year, Debbie, Katrina Island Twerk, Cherry Falwell, Snarebear, Shea D'Heaux and Alysin Wonderland were featured. All showcased their unique drag style to an energetic and supportive packed audience. Notable runways included Katrina's elaborate caution tape dress with working sirens. She left the crowd gagging as she dragged around two body bags as her accessories. Shea D Heaux showcased a The Wiz-inspired traffic cone scarecrow. Cherry Fallwell re-worked deconstructed rugs for a dress.
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Eerie Horror Fest Announces Special Screening Films & Schedule

September 11, 2023 - Erie, Pennsylvania - The Eerie Horror Fest is excited to announce this year's special screenings with additional information from Festival Director and curator John C. Lyons.
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Pink Party Benefit Weekend on the Horizon

The great Pink Party is almost back! Don't miss out on the opportunity to attend Michelle Michael's annual Pink Party benefit weekend. This event will take place on the evenings of October 6th - the 8th. Basket auctions and a bake sale will be included. A drag show with no cover will be featured on Sunday evening at 9:30.
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O'Connell & Company presents the Tony Award Winning Musical, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES

O'Connell & Company presents the Tony Award Winning Musical, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, September 22 - October 8, 2023. Book by Harvey Fierstein, Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, is Based on the play by Jean Poiret. 
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Erie Queer Community Comes Together to Host Banned Book Drive

National Banned Book Week is October 1 - 7, 2023. This year the NWPA Queer Community is coming together to get Queer books into our community. We will collect books at Journey to a Trauma Informed Life on Tuesday, October 3rd, from 6 pm to 8 pm. Additional books can be dropped off at Journey before October 3rd. NWPA Pride will also collect books at the Meadville Happy Hour on 9/27/23.
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Eerie Horror Fest Announces Second Wave of Films

September 5, 2023 - Erie, Pennsylvania - The Eerie Horror Fest is excited to announce their Second Wave of Official Film Selections.
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Looking for a good book?!

Interested in reading novels written by trans or gender non-conforming authors, or with trans or gender non-conforming characters? Get out your library card because Sexual Wellness PA, LLC would like to recommend one of their favorite trans novels!
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Deadline for October 2023 print edition (issue #335) of Erie Gay News is Friday, September 15, comes out Tuesday, September 26!

Deadline for October 2023 print edition (issue #335) of Erie Gay News is Friday, September 15, comes out Tuesday, September 26!
For the next Erie Gay News (issue # 335, cover-dated for October 2023), please send in-person and online events, news items, and other info for late September 2023 and beyond by Friday, September 15. We expect the next edition to come out on Tuesday, September 26.
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Entertainment and Travel

MTV Sets Premiere for New Film Binged to Death on Tuesday, October 17 at 9 PM ET/PT Just in Time for Halloween

October 3, 2023 - New York, NY- MTV Entertainment Studios in association with Will Packer Media (Girls Trip, Praise This), today announced that Binged to Death is set to premiere Tuesday, October 17th at 9PM ET/PT on MTV. The cast of the new parody thriller film includes Loni Love, Quincy Brown, Carl Anthony Payne II, Loren Lott, Jessica Lord, Andre Anthony, Dan Ginnane with Nico Tortorella. After learning their favorite reality show couples have broken up, an obsessive single woman (Love) and her bff (Payne) kidnap the contestants and force them into a series of torturous games, all with the hopes of rekindling their favorite TV romances.
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Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus: Be The Change for National Coming Out Day, October 11

You're Invited! Join Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus for our LIVE event on October 11 at 7:30 PM at Tacoma Performing Arts Center to kick off the 2023-2024 season! Enjoy a night filled with music that encourages people to live their authentic lives in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same! Joining the BGMC during this special performance will be Singers from Kenmore West, A dance performance from Dani Schofer, The Other Ones, a new LGBTQ+ dance group, A fully orchestrated version of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" and A few surprise performances sure to delight!
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Hulu Original Series "Living for the Dead" premieres October 18

Hulu Original Series 'Living for the Dead' premieres October 18
From the creators of "Queer Eye" and executive producer Kristen Stewart. In "Living for the Dead," five fabulous, queer ghost hunters roam the country, helping the living by healing the dead. Our gay "Ghost Hunties" explore infamous haunted locations while pushing past boundaries with both the living and the deceased.
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CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE On Sale This Monday, October 2

Erie, PA - CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE will be dazzling audiences in Erie during its 7-week, 70-city U.S. tour this holiday season. Audiences from coast-to-coast will be captivated by this brilliant and whimsical holiday spectacular. As the nation's premiere family holiday tradition, CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE will convey the magic of the season with a Broadway-style production infused with contemporary circus arts.
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Erie Welcomes Five September Conventions

Erie, PA: Five groups selected Erie as their host city for their upcoming conventions this September beginning with State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance. In total, the groups will have an estimated economic impact of close to $1 million on the Erie area*.
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Vintage Erie Wine Challenge Aims to Elevate Taste Buds

Erie PA: VisitErie, in partnership with Lake Erie Wine Country, is inviting wine aficionados to raise a glass in support of the region's wineries and earn prizes by taking the Vintage Erie Wine Challenge. From cabs to chardonnays, to signature blends, participants will uncork the region's finest vintages by using VisitErie's 'Hello Erie' Trip Planner app to check in at any six of the twenty participating wineries in Lake Erie Wine Country. Once the challenge is complete, participants will receive a completion badge to be turned in for a four-pack of bamboo appetizer plates and a Lake Erie Wine Country wooden grill flipper. VisitErie's mobile app challenges offer unique opportunities to promote the region's wineries and incentivize people to visit and explore the Erie area. Past challenges include a Lake Erie Ale Trail challenge and the "Erie on the Rocks" distillery challenge. The Vintage Erie Wine Challenge runs from September 15 through October 31.
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LGBTQ Travelers can Win a Big Gay Getaway to Puerto Vallarta from Pink Ticket Travel

LGBTQ Travelers can Win a Big Gay Getaway to Puerto Vallarta from Pink Ticket Travel
Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure? LGBTQ travel site Pink Ticket Travel is giving away a 5-Night Getaway for two to Puerto Vallarta!
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All An Act Theater Presents: The Cat and the Canary

All An Act Theater presents The Cat and the Canary by John Willard. Adapted to the stage and Directed by J. D. Mizikowski and Char Newport . The play runs September 29th - October 15th, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 Sundays at 3pm, and stars Natalie Waddell-Rutter, Matt Dante, Ben Robson, Robin Baranski, Christine Pawlowski, Daniel Stripp, Andrew Heidt, Tori Snyder, and Erica Stripp.
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Local Faces and Photos

LBT Women of Erie Picnic - A Great Time

On September 9th, 21 people gathered at Kim and Andrea's home for the annual LBT Women of Erie picnic. The atmosphere was filled with laughter and chatter as everyone enjoyed great food and played competitive rounds of cornhole. Although there was a little rain, it didn't stop us from having a good time as we continued the party indoors and shared exciting conversations. We want to thank everyone for contributing to the event and making it a success. As we said our goodbyes, everyone was already looking forward to next year's picnic and making plans. If you're interested in joining our women's group and attending future events, please feel free to contact us on Facebook.
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Political, Activism and Legal

LGBTQ Policy Updates: October 2023

MAP's Equality Maps provide a detailed snapshot of the current state of LGBTQ laws and policies in the United States. In this regularly changing landscape, these are the state and local policy updates over the last month.
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Advocates Will Appeal Ruling Denying Request to Temporarily Block Oklahoma Ban on Gender-Affirming Care

OKLAHOMA - October 6, 2023 - The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma has rejected a request from families and a medical provider to temporarily block an Oklahoma law banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth while the case proceeded. Until now, the law (SB613) was not enforceable by state officials based upon an agreement by the parties.
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New Report: Adoption of LGBTQ+ Inclusive ESG Reporting Skyrocketing Among Top Corporations

NEW YORK CITY, NY - According to a new report released today by Out Leadership during Return on Equality, an LGBTQ+ inclusive ESG summit hosted by Nasdaq, nearly all Fortune 100 companies report on their LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts through their ESG and DEI reports.
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Grassroots groups to host National March to Protect Trans Youth on Oct. 7 in Orlando, Florida

A broad grassroots coalition of trans and LGBTQI+ activists and progressive organizations will hold a National March to Protect Trans Youth and Speakout for Trans Rights on Saturday, Oct. 7, in Orlando, Florida. The march will gather at 12 noon at Orange & Anderson near Orlando City Hall.
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U. S. Commission on Civil Rights Delivers Report to the President and Congress: The Federal Response to Anti-Asian Racism in the United States

On Wednesday, September 27, 2023, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights delivered its 2023 statutory enforcement report, The Federal Response to Anti-Asian Racism in the United States, to The President and Congress. The report examines the federal government's role in documenting, prosecuting, and preventing hate crimes against persons of Asian descent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The full report is available on the Commission's website at https://www.usccr.gov/reports/annual-statutory-enforcemen
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Equality California on the Selection of Laphonza Butler as Next U.S. Senator From California

LOS ANGELES - Equality California, the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang on Governor Gavin Newsom's selection of Laphonza Butler to serve as the next U.S. Senator From California: "Laphonza Butler is eminently qualified to represent California well in the United States Senate and we are thrilled to congratulate her. This historic appointment by Governor Newsom will give our LGBTQ+ community another voice in Congress at a time when our rights and freedoms are under attack across the country. We look forward to working with Laphonza as she steps into this new role and continues her lifelong fight for our shared values of equity, freedom and justice for all."
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Trans and Non-Binary Activists Challenge Florida Bathroom Ban as Unconstitutional Prior to National March

September 29, 2023 - Today, a group of trans and non-binary people asked a federal court to declare Florida's bathroom ban unconstitutional and to issue an order temporarily prohibiting authorities from enforcing it against them while they are in Florida in the coming weeks. The temporary restraining order (TRO) would allow the plaintiffs to use public bathrooms that align with their gender as they travel to, participate in, and return from the National March to Protect Trans Youth in Orlando on October 7.
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Equality California on the Passing of United States Senator Dianne Feinstein

LOS ANGELES - September 29, 2023 - Equality California, the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang on Friday in response to the news that United States Senator Dianne Feinstein has passed away at age 90: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Senator Dianne Feinstein, a trailblazer and tireless advocate for equality and justice. Senator Feinstein devoted her life to serving the people of California and our nation, championing LGBTQ+ civil rights, reproductive freedom, gun safety reform and democracy throughout her remarkable career. Senator Feinstein stood with our community back when few others did, fighting for funding and action to combat the AIDS crisis when most elected officials chose to look away. Her work from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to the United States Senate transformed our state and our nation for the better.
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Montana Court Blocks Enforcement of Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

Missoula, MT - September 27, 2023 - A Montana state district court judge today blocked enforcement of Senate Bill 99, the discriminatory law that threatens the health and well-being of Montana transgender youth by denying them access to the only evidence-based care for gender dysphoria. In his order. Judge Jason Marks finds SB 99 "is unlikely to survive any level of constitutional review" and "barring access to gender-affirming care would negatively impact gender dysphoric minors' mental and physical health."
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Federal Appeals Court Rejects Request to Block Tennessee Ban on Gender-Affirming Care

CINCINNATI, Ohio - September 28, 2023 - The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today rejected a request from families and medical providers to block a Tennessee law banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. Today's ruling follows an earlier ruling by the Appeals Court rejecting a stay request to block enforcement of the law which took effect in July 2023.
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Global Workplace Talent Research: 80% of LGBTQ+ Employees are Comfortable Being Out at Work, Up from 36% in 2016

NEW YORK CITY, NY - A new global workplace survey of over 2,700 LGBTQ+ employees from 5 continents released today by Out Leadership finds today's workplace as overwhelmingly supportive of LGBTQ+ inclusivity and being out at work as a positive differentiator in the careers of most LGBTQ+ employees. Despite this remarkable progress, challenges remain especially for the transgender, nonbinary, and people of color - especially women of color.
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Court Issues Permanent Injunction Declaring Texas' Drag Ban Unconstitutional

HOUSTON - September 26, 2023 - A federal judge in the Southern District of Texas today ruled the state's drag ban, Senate Bill 12, is unconstitutional and issued a permanent injunction blocking the legislation from becoming law.
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Equality California on AB 957 Veto

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Equality California, the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang in response to Governor Newsom's Veto message on AB 957, the TGI Youth Empowerment Act: "We are disappointed and disheartened by Governor Newsom's decision to veto AB 957, which would have helped to ensure that the unique needs of transgender and gender non-conforming youth are explicitly considered in child custody and visitation decisions.
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Sign Up NOW for Fall Lobby Day!

The Fairness Act would prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in housing, education, and access to public accommodations. Now is the time to enact clear, statewide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians, and we urge the General Assembly to pass legislation without delay. We need your help to get over the finish line ADVOCATE with us in Harrisburg on October 24th for The Fairness Act! Sign up online at https://www.mobilize.us/hrcpa/event/577410/.
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Lambda Legal and TLDEF Urge Fourth Circuit to Uphold Rulings Protecting Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender People in North Carolina and West Virginia

(RICHMOND, VA - Thursday, Sept 21) -- Today, a full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard arguments in two cases involving equal access to health care for transgender people. State officials in North Carolina and West Virginia previously appealed to the Fourth Circuit victories secured by Lambda Legal and co-counsel that found the states' denial of gender-affirming care to be discriminatory and unconstitutional.
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US Department of Labor awards more than $1.5M in grants to prevent, respond to workplace gender-based violence, harassment

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of more than $1.5 million in grants to support efforts by five community organizations to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and harassment against underserved and marginalized women workers.
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New MAP Report - Political Attacks on Transgender Youth Are the Tip of the Iceberg in a Broader Effort to Eliminate Transgender People from Public Life

Today the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) released Banning Medical Care and Legal Recognition for Transgender People, the fifth in MAP's report series, Under Fire: The War on LGBTQ People in America. The report details how the dramatic increase in political attacks on transgender youth are just the tip of the iceberg and part of a coordinated effort to eliminate transgender people of all ages from public life.
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Creating Change Launches Proposal Submission Process for 2024 Conference, To Be Held in New Orleans January 17-21

As the National LGBTQ Task Force celebrates our 50th anniversary, we are building a future where everyone is free to be themselves in every aspect of their lives - and we can't do it without you. Creating Change will be held in New Orleans January 17-21, 2024. For more information go to www.creatingchange.org
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LGBTQ Policy Updates: September 2023

MAP's Equality Maps provide a detailed snapshot of the current state of LGBTQ laws and policies in the United States. In this regularly changing landscape, these are the state and local policy updates from August 3 to September 5.
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Judge Grants Kansas AG's Request to Modify Consent Judgment Requiring Nondiscriminatory Transgender Birth Certificate Policy

(Kansas City, Kansas - August 31, 2023) Today a federal judge granted a request from Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach to vacate parts of a consent judgment entered by the court in 2019, at the request of the parties in Foster v. Andersen.
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Legal Advocates to Texas Trans Youth and Families: The Fight is Far from Over

AUSTIN, Texas - August 31, 2023 - The Texas Supreme Court today refused to grant an emergency request for temporary relief and allowed S.B. 14, the state's unconstitutional medical care ban, to go into effect, endangering Texas transgender youth, infringing on the rights of parents, and exposing doctors who care for them to loss of medical licenses and other potential penalties. A Travis County District Court had granted a temporary injunction last week that blocked implementation of the discriminatory ban, but the Texas Attorney General immediately appealed directly to the Texas Supreme Court, thereby staying the injunction.
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Health

The National Coalition of STD Directors and PrEP4All Urge White House Intervention on Syphilis Drug Shortage

Washington, D.C. - On Monday, a coalition of 39 leading public health groups sent a letter urging the White House Drug Shortage Task Force to prioritize action to end the ongoing shortage of Bicillin L-A. Bicillin L-A is the only approved treatment for syphilis in pregnant women and the preferred treatment for syphilis in adults, infants, and children. Clinics and states have reported being unable to access Bicillin L-A, and Pfizer - the drug's exclusive manufacturer - has reported that they will not resolve the shortage until mid 2024.
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Fight national blood and platelet shortage: Make a Red Cross donation appointment now

[Sept. 26, 2023] The American Red Cross continues to experience a national blood and platelet shortage and asks the public to book a time to give as soon as possible. Donors of all blood types are urgently needed, especially type O blood donors and those giving platelets. The Red Cross offers three ways to make a donation appointment that can help save lives: Download the Red Cross Blood Donor App; Visit RedCrossBlood.org; Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
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Active Shooter Response and Stop the Bleed Training

Erie, PA - On October 18 at Blasco Memorial Public Library, The Northwest Pennsylvania Medical Reserve Corps is sponsoring a free Active Shooter Response and Stop the Bleed Training. Registration is required. This training will educate participants on how to respond to active shooter scenarios and techniques to control life-threatening bleeding.
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PrEP4All to Embark on Groundbreaking National PrEP Program Discussions

PrEP4All will hold a series of high-level consultations that will advance a strategic conversation on the costs, benefits, and best practices for a National PrEP Program for un- and under-insured individuals in America. The organization will convene key experts and thought leaders to capture the potential value of a National PrEP Program for communities across the United States.
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Announcing the Fall 2023 Pennsylvania HIV Planning Group Townhall Meeting

The Fall 2023 Pennsylvania HIV Planning Group Townhall Meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 from 3 PM tp 6:15 PM. Come learn about and have a voice in how Pennsylvania's Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Plan affects you and your community, and also new efforts Pennsylvania will launch to empower stakeholders whose lives are touched by HIV. To attend online (no preregistration needed) go to https://bit.ly/HPGSeptTownHall. You may also RSVP, ask questions, or discuss accessibility / dietary needs by calling 412-383-3000, or emailing stakeholders@stophiv.com. This event is free of charge to all Pennsylvanians 18 and older. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
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CDC Health Survey - Can You Help?

The CDC needs your help to stop the spread of a contagious disease in our community... Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is spreading in the MSM community and is highly preventable through a vaccine.  The CDC needs your opinions to help provide communications that will be effective in creating awareness and action within our community.
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12/01/23 World AIDS Day "I am a Work of ART"

Mark your calendar for December 1st to join the Erie County HIV Task Force (ECHTF) for the 2023 World AIDS Day event. This year recognizes the 35th Anniversary of the annual memorial. In addition to remembering those no longer with us, the ECHTF is asking the community to join us with this year's theme "I am a Work of ART" which bringing together local providers and clients in providing the public with ways to learn about treatment and successes in living with HIV. The word ART this year has a dual meaning. As a medical term, ART is an acronym for Anti-Retroviral Therapy - a combo of meds taken to make HIV undetectable which creates no risk of transmission to others. ART also represents creativity and imagination through various forms of expression. The ECHTF is working in collaboration with the Erie County Department of Health, Community Health Net, PA Thrive Partnership, and Journey to a Trauma Informed Life to bring ART to this year's World AIDS Day event. To learn more about the event, watch for more details in the November and December issues of Erie Gay News as well as send an email to admin@echiv.org for more info. Do you know your HIV status? Consider getting tested for free at the Erie County Department of Health. We help get you started on routine testing, and provide information on PrEP for HIV [prevention medicine] and give you FREE condoms with lube. All this is available during our weekly Sexual Health Clinics on Tuesdays 9am-11am and Wednesdays 1pm-3pm. For more information give us a call at the Erie County Department of Health, 814-451-6700
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Spirituality and Religion

15th Annual Diversity Service at Community United Church Oct 29

The staff and congregation of Community United Church, 1011 W 38th St, Erie PA, warmly invite you to join us on Sunday, October 29, at 11:00 AM as we celebrate our fifteenth year as a nationally certified Open and Affirming faith community in the United Church of Christ. As an Open and Affirming Christian congregation, we boldly accept and affirm LGBTQ+ people and relationships. We proudly march in our city's Pride parade, and we also offer regular educational opportunities on LGBTQ+ inclusion. We are a faith community that grounds our understanding of God in unconditional love-and although we do not claim to be perfect, we do seek to embody that love through radical welcome, helping those in need, honoring boundaries, worship, study, small groups, and standing for restorative justice. Please join us as we celebrate our fifteenth year of Open and Affirming certification.
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

LGBTQ History, move over NY and California

October is LGBTQ History Month, and I have one question? Which state do you believe contributed more to achieving LGBTQ+ Equality? Here's a hint: It's not California. It's not even New York. Make room for Pennsylvania.
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LGBTQ+ equality does not stop at the corporate door

I just returned from speaking at the Out & Equal conference - the annual summit for the country's LGBTQ+ workplace equality nonprofit organization - in Orlando, Fla. This experience showed me the importance and the success of the work we have all done since Stonewall in 1969. When I was an 18-year-old boy who stood outside Stonewall in June 1969, I could have never dreamed or imagined this. Here I was: one of the most radical members of the community in the midst of LGBTQ+ corporate America, and I was invited to speak by one of America's major financial organizations, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
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A Warning to All of Us

Campus Pride has served students and higher education for more than 20 years. According to its website, "Campus Pride represents the leading national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ students." Each year since 2007, the organization conducts the Campus Pride Index, which gives prospective college students insight into LGBTQ+-friendly campuses.
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Contests

Enter to win French Quarter Nights & Other Stories by JR

Enter to win French Quarter Nights & Other Stories by JR
Enter to win French Quarter Nights & Other Stories by JR. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, October 10, and Tuesday, October 31.
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Enter to win The Latent Image DVD

Enter to win The Latent Image DVD
Enter to win The Latent Image DVD. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, September 26, and Tuesday, October 17.
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History

Golden State queer mecca is more than San Francisco

The 1979 police assault on San Francisco's former Elephant Walk bar on Castro Street after the White Night riots was a defining moment for the LGBTQ neighborhood, helping to cement the solidarity of a new community while the whole world was watching.
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The Evolution of LGBTQ+ Online Dating

From casual hook-ups to friendships to meeting the love of your life, LGBTQ+ online dating was created out of a need for community.
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A love story for the ages

When George Harris and Jack Evans became the first couple to legally marry in Dallas County, they had already been together 54 years. That day in 2015, Dallas was the largest metropolitan area in the country to gain marriage equality, and a photo of the couple applying for their marriage license in the County Records Building was printed in newspapers around the world.
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When NOW Purged Lesbians

The website of The National Women's History Museum (NWHM) describes Betty Friedan as "co-founder of the National Organization for Women" (NOW) and "one of the early leaders of the women's rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Her 1963 best-selling book, The Feminine Mystique, gave voice to millions of American women's frustrations with their limited gender roles and helped spark widespread public activism for gender equality."
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In 1960s, drag found a home in San Francisco's Glen Park

During the 1960s most LGBTQ nightlife in San Francisco was centered in the northern neighborhoods of the city. Gay bars could be found along Polk Street, in the Tenderloin, and the South of Market neighborhood.
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Putting an End to the Myths of Stonewall

For years, people have debated what actually happened that night in June 1969 when Stonewall was raided and a new, more militant struggle for equality was born. Due to the debates, and the insistence of some who claim they knew all aspects of what had actually happened, an incredible void opened up where people could invent, imagine, or distort Stonewall and our history to their own objectives. The myths of Stonewall are endless, but they're easily dispelled when you look at the material proof and plain logic.
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Miscellaneous

PA Library Association Recognizes Senator Lynda Schlegel Culver as 2023 Elected Official of the Year

PA Library Association Recognizes Senator Lynda Schlegel Culver as 2023 Elected Official of the Year
Mechanicsburg, PA (September 26, 2023) - Each year, the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) honors the service of their members, as well as those community members, who go above and beyond the call of duty to support the work of libraries throughout the commonwealth.
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