April, 2024 News (71 Articles with 57,720 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for April, 2024 Kim, Robin, and Andrea at Hurry Hill Maple Farm on March 16 with The Beans/LBT Women.

This began publication in December 2002 after a hiatus

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Calendar & Upcoming Events

Calendar of Local GLBT Events

Up to date listing of events and meetings.

Local and Regional News

SisTers PGH Founder Makes History

SisTers PGH Founder and Executive Director Ciora Thomas wrote the following on being highlighted in the Heinz History Center's exhibit "A Woman's Place: How Women Shaped Pittsburgh." "Another one for the history books. A Black Trans woman and her work displayed in the Heinz History Center for the first time while she's alive is ICONIC! I'm truly grateful to the team at the History Center, especially DaNia Childress, for taking the time to listen. Listening can be one of the most potent and liberating tools of storytelling.
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Star of RuPaul's Drag Race to Come to Erie

ERIE - April 1, 2024- Zone Dance Club is thrilled to announce Lola LeCroix presents VAIN is coming to Erie! This show, hosted by Lola LeCroix, who is originally from Erie, marks a significant milestone for The Zone, reaffirming their commitment to bring various forms of entertainment to the Erie Queer community. Lola will be bringing none other than Vanessa "Vanjie" Mateo for a one-night only stop in Erie on Saturday April 20th. They will be joined by local favorites Rebecca Mae and Miss Erie 2023 Shea D'Heaux as well as Shari Turner from Cleveland.
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Voters Guide

Voters Guide
Candidates for US Senator, US Congress (PA-16), PA State Senate District 49, and PA State House for areas that included Erie County were asked about their positions on LGBTQIA+ issues.
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Bears Do Dinner #113 at Firestone's

On Wednesday, March 20, Bears Do Dinner held their monthly dinner at Firestone's, 4823 Peach St, Erie, PA. The group meets monthly for dinner at a different restaurant. Upcoming dates are Tuesday, April 16 and Monday, May 20. Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/groups/BearsDoDinnerEriePA.
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Compton's Table Name Change Clinic on April 13

Compton's Table is partnering with Atty Seth Trott from Quinn Law Firm to provide a free Name Change Clinic on April 13, 2024, from 1:30 to 3:30 PM at 3104 State Street, Erie, PA. Attendees will learn how to navigate the name change process. Compton's can cover the costs for 10 participants' name change fees. We know not everybody is ready to go through the legal process, so we encourage those interested in learning to attend. Registration is required for the event. Registration does not guarantee you will be one of the ten to have your legal process covered.
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Aging With Pride Book Club

Aging With Pride met at Werner Books and Coffee, 3608 Liberty St, Erie, PA, on March 16 to discuss Felice Picano's Like People In History. Book club meetings are usually held on the third Saturday of the month at Werner Books at 1 PM, but April's meeting will be on the 27th to accommodate the Aging With Pride trip to the Buffalo Art Gallery on April 20.
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Live and Let Live AA Group Now Meets at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church

Please note that Live and Let Live, the LGBTQIA+ friendly AA group, now holds its meeting at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, 1603 W 32nd St, Erie, PA. The group meets every Sunday at 7 PM. For more info, browse to www.aaeriepa.org, email jmwilliams3603@aol.com, or call (814) 844-2600.
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Aging With Pride Dinner at Brewerie

On Thursday, February 29, Aging With Pride held their monthly dinner at Brewerie at Union Station, 123 W 14th St, Erie PA. On the last Thursday of each month, the group meets for dinner at a different restaurant. In addition, the group also hosts a game night the second Wednesday of each month and a book club the 3rd Saturday of each month. They typically have their planning meetings on the first and third Sundays of each month. Check them out at AgingWithPrideErie.org.
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ASCEND Erie Launches Affinity Sessions to Improve Access and Inclusivity

On March 9, ASCEND Erie hosted its first Affinity Session, inviting anyone who identifies as Queer, Femme, Trans, or as a Woman to visit the gym and climb for free. More than 20 members of Erie's QFTW community took to the walls, nearly one-third of whom were first-time visitors. ASCEND Erie will host Affinity Sessions on the second Saturday of each month from 6-8 p.m., closing the gym for these special events. Each month will alternate between two affinity groups: QFTW and BIPOC. The first BIPOC Affinity Session at ASCEND Erie will take place April 13.
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Ashtabula Pride Looking For Volunteers for June 15 Festival

One of the most vital pieces to a puzzle can never go missing. You will never get the full effect of the overall picture with one simple piece not in place. That is why it is so crucial that Ashtabula Pride, Inc. urges our most important part of the June 15 Pride Festival to reach out to partners like you for assistance. Our Volunteer Team has been scrambling for months trying to reach out via social media posts and flyers in local stores to encourage people to sign up as VOLUNTEERS and help us bring forth this amazing time of love and celebration! We have a very detailed application to complete to become a volunteer. The reason for this is to ensure ALL of our volunteers are either LGBTQ+ community members or they are allies of the community. This will give us an overall feeling of protection and trust while the festival is happening. We help to train our VOLUNTEERS on what to look for and how to respond in the event of situations they may not be used to dealing with, and we make sure their comfort level at this task is 100% before giving the approval to be considered a VOLUNTEER for the next upcoming event. There are times and different departmental teams you can apply for during the festival, and we assure you we will accommodate you as best we can! If this isn't for you, then tell someone you know that you feel would be great at helping us out at the festival! Please apply on our website under the SIGN UP tab.
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Rainbow Fest on April 13

Join us at Rainbow Fest, hosted by OddCity Entertainment, for a groundbreaking celebration of love and acceptance on April 13th at Basement Transmissions in Erie, PA. Following the National Day of Silence, this festival amplifies voices against discrimination towards queer individuals, as well as brings the queer community together to showcase all of our amazing local talent in a safe and welcoming environment! The day promises: - 17 queer-featured bands bringing unique sounds and energy, seven fabulous drag performers (including an ASL interpreter for inclusivity), six queer-featured craft vendors showcasing community talent, and two queer featured food vendors. We will also have three guest speakers discussing important advocacy efforts from Pennsylvania Equality Project, Susannah Faulkner, and Rianna Czech! This is an accessible venue with wheelchair-friendly options and will have an on-site ASL interpreter. This all-ages event offers family-friendly activities, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all. We will donate proceeds to the LGTB Funds of the Erie Community Foundation and will have services provided by Central Outreach. Join in, spread the love, and create unforgettable memories at Rainbow Fest 2024! Follow [@OddCity Entertainment] for updates and surprises. Visit oddcityentertainment.org/events/rainbow-fest for more information.
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Job Opening via United Way for Grover Cleveland Community School Director

Please note that the United Way of Erie County has a job position open for Grover Cleveland Community School Director. Submit your Resume & Cover Letter at UnitedWayErie.org/Jobs. A resume and cover letter are required to be submitted via email to jobs@unitedwayerie.org by COB on March 18, 2024.
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Deadline for April 2024 print edition (issue #341) of Erie Gay News is Friday, March 15, comes out Tuesday, March 26! Includes Voters Guide!

Deadline for April 2024 print edition (issue #341) of Erie Gay News is Friday, March 15, comes out Tuesday, March 26! Includes Voters Guide!
For the next Erie Gay News (issue # 341, cover-dated for April 2024), please send in-person and online events, news items, and other info for late March 2024 and beyond by Friday, March 15. We expect the next edition to come out on Tuesday, March 26. Please note that this issue will include our Voters Guide for the April 23 Pennsylvania Spring Primary Election.
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Entertainment and Travel

Pride Journey: Las Vegas

Las Vegas, known for its vibrant and inclusive atmosphere, embraces LGBTQ culture with open arms, making it a thriving hub for the community. Iconic events like the annual Las Vegas Pride Parade and Festival bring together people from all walks of life to celebrate diversity and unity. Las Vegas Pride is typically in early October so start planning now.
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Erie Shines in the Eclipse National Media Spotlight

Erie, PA: With less than one week remaining until the total solar eclipse, Erie is poised to welcome the anticipated influx of visitors and media attention with open arms. As the only major city in Pennsylvania to be in the path of totality, Erie has captured significant interest from major media outlets. VisitErie has been working for more than a year to cultivate. external media coverage through online features, printed articles, and broadcast mentions. These spotlights, focusing on Erie and the upcoming eclipse have heightened the region's visibility considerably, and will undoubtedly help bolster the expected visitation numbers for April 8.
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Pennsylvania Office of Tourism Releases 2022 Visitor Data - Erie County saw increases from 2021

Erie, PA: A new report from the Pennsylvania Tourism Office shows the tourism industry in the Commonwealth generated $76.7 billion in economic impact, supported 486,871 jobs, contributed $4.7 billion in state and local taxes, and welcomed 192.4 million visitors in 2022. The results of this report were highlighted by DCED Deputy Secretary of Tourism Carrie Lepore during VisitErie's State of the Industry meeting on Tuesday, March 12 at the Bayfront Convention Center. The 2022 Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism report provides state, regional, and county level estimates that demonstrate the vital importance of the travel industry to Pennsylvania's economy. Governor Josh Shapiro is calling for a $15 million increase in tourism funding in his 2024-25 budget proposal, which would support the nearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians who work in the travel and tourism industry. This major investment will drive economic growth, leading to new businesses and jobs and a stronger economy for all Pennsylvanians.
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Land of Lincoln: Your Visit to Historic Springfield, Illinois

Land of Lincoln: Your Visit to Historic Springfield, Illinois
The central Illinois town of Springfield is not only the state capitol, but also the home of Abraham Lincoln, one of America's greatest presidents. Lincoln's legacy is everywhere including the National Park Service run village just south of downtown. The downtown area is very walkable and full of signs describing details about the history and role the 16th President played in the city.
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VisitErie Unveils Eclipse S.H.I.N.E. Campaign

ERIE, PA: With one month left to go before the Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024, VisitErie unveiled its S.H.I.N.E. campaign, asking residents to do five simple things to ensure the community is at its best. The eclipse is poised to significantly impact the region, with estimates anticipating 56,000 to 200,000 visitors making their way to Pennsylvania, the majority of whom will head north to Erie. If Erie sees even the low number of projected visitors, it will become the third-largest city in the Commonwealth for that day, almost doubling in population, and will be Erie County's largest tourism-related event in recent memory.
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Spring has sprung in Washington

Spring has sprung in Washington
Spring is the perfect time to visit the nation's capital city. The cherry blossoms are in bloom, the museums are free, and there is always something new to do. A new LGBTQ bar opens soon on 14th Street, the sixth new gay bar in a year. So the nightlife is unbeatable. And after San Francisco, it is the most walkable (and gayest) city in North America.
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"Drag Me to Dinner" Showcases RuPaul's Drag Race Stars, Iconic Drag Royalty at Salvatore's Italian Gardens

Buffalo, NY - February 22, 2024 - Salvatore's Italian Gardens is set to host an electrifying evening of glamor, comedy, and fabulousness with "Drag Me to Dinner" on Saturday, April 13. This sensational event promises an unforgettable experience as it welcomes some of the most beloved drag queens from RuPaul's Drag Race alongside esteemed drag royalty from the Western New York area. Headlining the evening are the incomparable queens Mrs. Kasha Davis and Darienne Lake, both renowned for their wit, charm, and captivating performances showcased on the global phenomenon, RuPaul's Drag Race, as well as RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars. Joining them on stage are drag legends Aggy Dune and Ambrosia Salad, whose charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent have captivated audiences far and wide. With their unique styles and magnetic stage presence, Aggy Dune and Ambrosia Salad promise to add an extra layer of excitement and spectacle to the evening's festivities.
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Local Faces and Photos

LBT Women Trip to Hurry Hill Maple Farm

On March 16th, the Beans took a trip to the Hurry Hill Maple Farm to attend the annual Maple Festival. The six of us were excited to learn how maple syrup is made and taste some delectable maple products.
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Political, Activism and Legal

United Nations addresses the human rights of intersex persons in ground-breaking resolution

Geneva, 4 April 2024 - The United Nations made a historic move to protect the human rights of intersex persons, 35 civil society organisations said today, as the Human Rights Council adopted its first-ever resolution specifically addressing discrimination, violence, and harmful practices against persons with innate variations in sex characteristics. A majority of States voted in favour of the resolution, with no States voting against it.
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Uganda Court Ruling Fails to Stem Persecution of LGBTQ People

New York, USA- 03 April 2024 - Outright International strongly condemns the decision by Uganda's Constitutional Court to invalidate only a few provisions of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023, while leaving the rest intact. The Court categorically declined to nullify the Act in its entirety or issue a permanent injunction. This decision falls short of the necessary action to protect the rights and lives of LGBTQ individuals in Uganda.
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ICYMI: Ryan Walters' Week of Backlash, Criticism, and Continued Upheaval at State Dept. of Education

Oklahoma City - Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters must be relieved the calendar has turned to April, because his last week of March was filled with continued backlash and criticism from Oklahomans, canceled events, and more staff upheaval at the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). It's clear that no matter how much Walters tries to hide himself from criticism, Oklahomans refuse to let him off the hook.
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NEW DATA: LGBTQ+ Community Continues to Face Financial Challenges Compared to Peers

WASHINGTON - April 3, 2024 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a report in partnership with Community Marketing & Insights featuring data collected from 1,899 LGBTQ+ adults (age 18 and older) in the United States. The report, which comes at the start of Financial Literacy Month, fielded survey responses about financial wellness within the LGBTQ+ community and highlights the unique economic challenges that many in the community often face.
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Texas Appeals Court Upholds Rulings Blocking State from Investigating Trans Youth and Their Families

March 29, 2024 - Today the Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, upheld injunctions in two related cases against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and Commissioner Masters, barring them from implementing the agency's rule expanding the definition of child abuse to presumptively treat the provision of gender-affirming care as child abuse.
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ICYMI: Oklahomans Demand Ryan Walters' Removal at State Board of Ed Meeting Before He Cancels Next Appearance

Oklahoma City - March 29, 2024 - Just ten members of the public are allowed to speak during the public comment period at the Oklahoma State Board of Education monthly meetings. And yesterday, all ten speakers used their time to call out State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters for his failure to protect the state's LGBTQ+ students and keep Oklahoma schools safe. Their message was clear: Ryan Walters must be removed from office.
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The Turning Tide: Every Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Defeated as Georgia Session Ends

ATLANTA - March 29, 2024 - Georgia's state legislative session came to a close early this morning, with legislators failing to advance any of the more than 20 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in Georgia this year. In the waning days of session, MAGA lawmakers in the Senate launched a last ditch effort to further restrict freedoms for LGBTQ+ young people and families, hijacking two unrelated bills and stuffing them with anti-LGBTQ+ amendments. Neither bill was taken up for a vote in the House.
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Human Rights Campaign Celebrates Trans Joy on Trans Day of Visibility 2024

WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, honors Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV). Held annually on March 31, TDOV celebrates transgender and non-binary people worldwide living openly and authentically while raising awareness around the discrimination and violence they still face.
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RELEASE: Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth Appears Imminent in Kansas Thanks to GOP Supermajorities in the State Legislature

WASHINGTON - March 28, 2024 - This week, both chambers of the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature passed legislation that would ban gender-affirming care for trans children. The bill now heads to Democratic Governor Laura Kelly's desk, and she's expected to veto the anti-trans legislation. However, state Republicans likely have the numbers needed to override her veto and make this dangerous attack on trans youth state law. The House passed the bill 82-39, with two GOP absences that could provide the two votes needed for a veto-proof majority. The Senate passed the bill 27-13 along partisan lines, which is a veto-proof Republican supermajority.
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Lambda Legal Launches "Speak OUT" Awareness Campaign Uplifting Trans and Nonbinary Voices

(NEW YORK, NY -- March 28, 2024) In advance of Transgender Day of Visibility, Lambda Legal, the nation's oldest and largest legal nonprofit working to achieve full equal rights for LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV, today launched a multimedia campaign, "Speak OUT: Trans and Nonbinary Voices". The campaign will be a platform for transgender and nonbinary voices to share their stories and experiences, in their own words as they navigate the current challenging social and political climate
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HRC Responds to the Full Release of the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Report, Continues to Support Nex Benedict's Family's Call for an Independent Investigation

WASHINGTON - March 27, 2024 - Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, released the following statement in response to the full release of the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's report on the death of Nex Benedict, a 16 year-old non-binary student of Choctaw heritage. "The full report does little to fill in the gaps in information about that day or the more than a year of bullying and harassment that led up to it. It does not answer the questions of so many in Oklahoma and across the country. We continue to support the calls from Nex's family for an independent investigation.
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White House: A Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility, 2024

On Transgender Day of Visibility, we honor the extraordinary courage and contributions of transgender Americans and reaffirm our Nation's commitment to forming a more perfect Union - where all people are created equal and treated equally throughout their lives.
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Ohio Families File Lawsuit Challenging Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Transgender Youth

COLUMBUS - March 26, 2024 - Today, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio, and the global law firm Goodwin filed a lawsuit challenging the unconstitutional enactment of House Bill 68, and specifically, a discriminatory provision in H.B. 68 that bans gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. The organizations filed this lawsuit in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of two families whose children are at risk of losing critical, medically necessary healthcare. The lawsuit asks the court to strike down H.B. 68 before the law is set to take effect on April 24, 2024.
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Lambda Legal and City of Nashville Reach Settlement in HIV Discrimination Lawsuit

(NASHVILLE, TN -- March 25, 2024) Lambda Legal and co-counsels McDermott Will & Emery and Merchant Gould P.C. announced that it has reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit brought against the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County challenging the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department's (MNPD) discriminatory hiring policies after the MNPD rescinded a hiring offer after learning the applicant was living with HIV.
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HRC's Weekly State Fights Report: Slew of Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills Become Law

As legislative sessions near their end in numerous states, the pace of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks crossing the finish line has accelerated. There are now ELEVEN anti-equality bills that have been signed into law, including FOUR in the last week alone
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Rainbow Flag ban at U.S. Embassies - Statement from the Gilbert Baker Foundation

Statement from Charles Beal, President, Gilbert Baker Foundation and Save the Rainbow Flag Campaign: Banning the Rainbow Flag: the Latest Act of GOP Madness " The Republican agenda is an obvious one: Distract from real issues by assaulting the most vulnerable. That's why they have focused their hatred on the LGBTQ+ community. After years of legislating book bans, curriculum censorship, bathroom restrictions and withholding medically needed gender therapy, their latest act is signature Republican cruelty: For a crucial trillion-dollar budget that would prevent a government shutdown, the GOP slipped in a measure to ban the display of Rainbow Flags at U.S. embassies all over the world."
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VICTORY! Court Issues Temporary Injunction Against Texas Attorney General's Latest Attack on Texas Families with Transgender Youth

AUSTIN, Texas - March 25, 2024 - Today, the Travis County District Court granted a temporary injunction blocking the Texas Attorney General's Office's latest effort targeting transgender Texans-its demand that PFLAG National turn over information and documents about its support of families in Texas seeking gender-affirming medical care for their transgender youth.
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Lambda Legal to 10th Circuit: Reverse Ruling Upholding Oklahoma's Discriminatory Birth Certificate Policy

(Denver, CO - March 20, 2024) - Today, Lambda Legal urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to reverse a lower court ruling upholding Oklahoma's discriminatory policy of categorically prohibiting transgender people born in Oklahoma from correcting the gender marker on their birth certificates to match their gender identity.
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VICTORY: More than 50 Anti-LGBTQ+ Riders Stripped from Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON - March 22, 2024 - Due to the work of Congressional equality champions and the relentless advocacy efforts of the Human Rights Campaign and other LGTBQ+ advocacy organizations, more than 50 proposed anti-LGBTQ+ riders were stripped from the final version of a $1.2 trillion funding package that heads for a vote in the US Senate today. Despite demands from MAGA lawmakers in the U.S. House that the critical budget bills be saddled with anti-LGBTQ+ provisions, the bipartisan, bicameral negotiations rejected 51 of 52 of the newly-proposed riders.
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LGBTQ Policy Snapshot: MAP's Equality Profile for Oklahoma

(Equality profiles and detailed LGBTQ policy information is available for each state. MAP tracks more than 50 laws and policies nationwide and updates this information in real time. For information about bills in the Oklahoma legislature, see Freedom Oklahoma's 2024 bill tracker.)
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Human Rights Campaign Equality Votes PAC Condemns Radical Anti-Equality Ohio Senate Candidate Bernie Moreno

WASHINGTON - March 20, 2024 - Last night, extreme anti-equality politician Bernie Moreno won Ohio's Republican U.S. Senate primary. Moreno is a self-serving and radical politician who will say and do anything to get elected-including spreading hateful rhetoric about LGBTQ+ Ohioans and embracing policies that take away Ohioans' freedoms.
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Plaintiffs Urge Federal Court to Reverse Trump-Era Health Care Discrimination Rule

BOSTON - Plaintiffs in Boston Alliance of LGBTQ+ Youth (BAGLY) et al v. HHS, a lawsuit challenging the Trump-Pence Administration's "Rollback Rule" undermining health care nondiscrimination protections contained in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), filed a motion for summary judgment calling on the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to repeal the discriminatory rule.
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NWLC Celebrates Nicole Berner's Confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

The following is a statement by Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women's Law Center (NWLC): "We are thrilled that civil rights champion Nicole Berner has been confirmed to serve on the Fourth Circuit, becoming the first openly LGBTQ person to do so. She is also only the third openly LGBTQ woman to serve on the federal appellate bench. Berner is an outstanding lawyer with expertise in civil, labor, and reproductive rights who is deeply committed to ensuring equal justice for everyone. Throughout her illustrious career, she has worked tirelessly to advance and protect the rights of women, girls, people of color, and LGBTQ people, demonstrating a profound understanding of how the law affects all of our lives.
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Spring FreeShop 2024

The Pennsylvania Equality Project will hold Spring FreeShop at the Meadville Public Library on Friday, April 19 from 10 AM - 5 PM and Saturday, April 20, from 9 AM - 5 PM. We are seeking donations of food, clothing, blankets, non-perishable food items, kitchen items, books, toys, games, etc. on both days of the event. On Saturday, April 20, anyone who needs the donated items can take what they like for free. There is no cost for admission to this event. Spring FreeShop 2024 is being held at the Meadville Public Library in the Community Room on the Upper floor, 848 North Main Street, Meadville, PA 16335. For more information, visit our website, https://paequality.com, or call (814) 350-6635.
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ICYMI: New Data Shows that Majority of Americans Support Nondiscrimination Laws for LGBTQ+ Individuals

WASHINGTON - March 19, 2024 - New findings released last week from Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) polling and focus groups show that strong majorities of Americans - including, critically, most people of faith - support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ individuals (76%), are opposed to religiously based service refusals (60%), and support marriage equality (67%). While there was a slight decline of overall support for the LGBTQ+ community among certain subsets of the population, the American people are overwhelmingly rejecting the extremist anti-equality agenda peddled by MAGA politicians and personalities.
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ICYMI: A Missouri Lawmaker Wants to Criminalize Teachers Who Support Their Trans Students. The Lawmaker's Own Brother Says 'It's Just Whitewash for Hatred'

Jefferson City, MO - March 15, 2024 - Missouri State Representative Jamie Gragg introduced legislation last month that would label teachers as sex offenders for affirming any transgender student's gender identity, a cruel and heinous bill that Gragg's own brother condemned last week. "I saw this as blatant hatred wrapped up in the guise of protecting children," Charles Gragg, Jr. told reporters during a March 7 press conference held by PROMO, Missouri's leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organization.
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ICYMI: In States with Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws, School Hate Crimes Quadrupled, Washington Post Reports; Corresponding Surge in Youth Crisis Hotline Calls

WASHINGTON - March 12, 2024 - Today, an article published in the Washington Post spotlighted the disturbing and dangerous correlation between states that pass anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and a rise in bullying and hate crimes in schools. Bills that aim to write hate into state law, through censoring or banning LGBTQ+ topics and books in the classroom, only help to affirm bullying, hate and discrimination, as evidenced in recent FBI hate crime data analyzed by the Washington Post.
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Academy Award-Winning Actress Ariana DeBose Named ACLU Artist Ambassador for Voting Rights

NEW YORK - March 13, 2024 - The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that Academy Award-winning actress Ariana DeBose will join the organization's Artist Ambassador Program to advocate for voting rights.
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New MAP Report Illuminates Far Right's Battle to Control Nearly Every Aspect of Americans' Lives

Amid a continuing onslaught of political attacks on LGBTQ people, abortion access, the right to vote, and much more, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) released a new report that describes the web of attacks on virtually every area of American's lives, including who people can be, what they can do with their bodies, and how to live their lives.
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ICYMI: Extremist Hate-Peddler & OK Library Advisory Board Appointee Libs Of TikTok Rattled by Call Out from Chasten Buttigieg

WASHINGTON - March 11, 2024 - Libs of TikTok founder and Oklahoma political appointee Chaya Raichik lobbed an attack at teacher, author, and advocate Chasten Buttigieg over the weekend. The move came after Buttigieg joined the Human Rights Campaign, American Federation of Teachers, and others on a press call marking one month since the brutal attack and death of 16-year old nonbinary teen Nex Benedict in Owasso, Oklahoma.
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Advocacy Groups Demand Immediate Release of Title IX Rule

Washington, DC - March 15, 2024 - Today, a group of over 80 organizations, including the National Women's Law Center (NWLC), National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), GLSEN, and Human Rights Campaign, submitted a joint letter to President Biden urging him to swiftly finalize comprehensive Title IX regulations to ensure the safety and protection of student survivors, pregnant and parenting students, and LGBTQI+ students, including transgender, nonbinary, and intersex student athletes.
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ICYMI: Tennessee Lawmakers Giving Free Rein to Overt Discrimination - More Than a Dozen Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills Dominate Legislative Activity

Nashville, TN - March 12, 2024 - Last week, the Tennessee legislature heard more than a dozen bills attacking the LGBTQ+ community - and this week, the parade of discrimination is poised to be even worse with more anti-equality bills being considered. These proposals aim to restrict LGBTQ+ rights statewide and terminate resources for the community like the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. Outright attacks on health care for transgender people, education, and adoption services are also part of the coordinated legislative assault.
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Equality California on the Passing of David Mixner

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Equality California, the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang mourning the passing of longtime LGBTQ+ leader David Mixner: "David Mixner was a tireless fighter for our community and dedicated his life to advancing full, lived equality for all LGBTQ+ people. His many decades of advocacy have changed the lives of countless LGBTQ+ people in California and across the world for the better. Among his many accomplishments, David worked alongside Harvey Milk to stop California from banning LGBTQ+ schoolteachers in the 1970s, advocated for more aggressive treatment options during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, helped lead the fight against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the 1990s, and was central to our achieving marriage equality in the 2000s.
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GLAAD Releases 2024 Voter Poll: 94% of LGBTQ Americans Are Motivated to Vote; 72% Report Negative Impact of Political Discourse on Mental Health and Emotions

(New York, NY - March 7, 2024) GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is releasing the findings of a poll gauging motivation and top issues ahead of the 2024 general election in November. The nationwide survey polled both LGBTQ adults and registered voters (including both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ).
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Human Rights Campaign Responds to Partial Release of Medical Examiner's Report on Death of Nex Benedict

WASHINGTON - March 13, 2024 - Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, released the following statement in response to a partial release of the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's report into the death of 16 year-old non-binary student Nex Benedict, indicating they died by suicide: "As parents, we send our kids to school expecting that they will be safe and cared for. Nex was failed by so many and should still be here today. We hold their family in our hearts as they grapple with the devastating reality that their beloved child, a teen with a bright future, is no longer making this world a brighter place. Nex died one day after being beaten unconscious in a school bathroom, and following more than a year of bullying and harassment at school. This is heartbreaking. And we have heard from so many parents and students that this culture of bullying and harassment is both pervasive at Owasso Public Schools and that many within the school had actual knowledge that it was occurring and took no steps to fix it.
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Human Rights Campaign PAC, Planned Parenthood PA PAC Announce Joint Endorsement of Malcolm Kenyatta for Auditor General

HARRISBURG - March 12, 2024 - Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) PAC, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, along with Planned Parenthood PA PAC, announced that they are proudly endorsing Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta for Auditor General. HRC PAC is committed to engaging its volunteers, members and supporters to mobilize the more than 3 million Equality Voters in Pennsylvania in support of Kenyatta and other pro-equality candidates up and down the ballot.
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Formerly Incarcerated HIV+ Man Denied from Work Program Settles with Delaware County and the GEO Group

(Delaware County, PA - March 6, 2024) - Yesterday, a settlement agreement was reached in Doe v. Delaware County, et al., Lambda Legal's lawsuit on behalf of a man formerly incarcerated in the George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Delaware County, Pennsylvania (GWHCF) from February 2020 through July 2020. The settlement provides for financial compensation for the plaintiff and a change to the facility's policies. The plaintiff proceeded anonymously as John Doe and brought claims against Delaware County and the GEO Group in which he alleged that he was denied the opportunity to participate in a prison work program because he is living with HIV and that his confidential HIV status was disclosed.
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SINE DIE: LGBTQ+ and Allied Floridians Are Turning The Tide

Tallahassee, FL - As Florida's 2024 legislative session comes to a close, members of the LGBTQ+ community are breathing a sigh of relief that, after years of unprecedented onslaught, dozens of proposed anti-LGBTQ+ bills were defeated. Of the more than 20 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation introduced in Florida this year, only one made it over the finish line to Governor Ron DeSantis' desk. The defeat of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation was driven by the tireless advocacy of LGBTQ+ and allied Floridians, who have persevered through years of anti-LGBTQ+ policy attacks and dehumanizing rhetoric.
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Health

Give back during National Volunteer Month; join the Red Cross to help people in need

[APRIL 2, 2024] - During National Volunteer Month this April, the American Red Cross of Greater Pennsylvania is celebrating community heroes whose daily support and hard work embody the organization's lifesaving mission to help people in need.
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Statements by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and HHS Principals ahead of Transgender Day of Visibility

March 29, 2024 - Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) raised the Transgender Pride Flag outside HHS headquarters for the third year in a row. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and other leaders from across the Department released the following statements ahead of Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31.
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PrEP4All Launches #PrEPSaves PrEP Users' Union

Since 2018, PrEP4All has led the charge for a federally-funded National PrEP Program, and as the movement has gotten more attention, including calls from the White House to Congress to fund such a program, it is more important now than ever to uplift the voices of PrEP users in key HIV policy discussions. That's why PrEP4All is expanding the groundwork laid with our Summer 2023 #PrEPSaves campaign to launch the #PrEPSaves PrEP Users' Union (P2U).
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American Red Cross prepares for total solar eclipse in Erie

[ERIE, MARCH 26, 2024] - The American Red Cross is prepared to keep Pennsylvanians safe as the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, is expected to draw an estimated 200,000 people to the Erie area.
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Share your strength: Give blood or platelets with the Red Cross

March 25, 2024 - This spring, the American Red Cross asks donors to help defend the blood supply by giving blood or platelets now to combat a monstrous fact: only 3 out of 100 people donate blood. That's why we're teaming up with Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures to celebrate the epic new film, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, and inviting donors to rise together and give blood. When donors share their strength by coming to give March 25 - April 7, they'll get an exclusive Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. (Details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/GXK.*)
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HIV Science: Cut It Out

Recently, the University of Amsterdam announced the findings of their team of scientists working on a new frontier of HIV treatment. Their approach is using the Nobel Prize-winning Crispr gene editing technology. The U of A team presented a review of early findings on a 'proof of concept' as a potential future treatment of HIV.
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President Biden Proposes a National PrEP Program for a Third Year in his FY25 Budget Request

PrEP4All welcomes the Biden Administration's ongoing commitment to a National PrEP Program for un- and underinsured individuals in America. For the third year, the Administration has called for a 10-year $9.8B investment in equitable PrEP scale up to erase enormous racial, gender, and geographic disparities in PrEP uptake (see page 6 of the HHS Budget in Brief).
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

Republicans kill rainbow flag, people as well?

Republicans did something last week that went almost unnoticed. Through one simple act in 1970, the United States became the world's leader in making our community visible. Thanks to a Republican amendment in the federal budget that was signed last week, a sad end has come to that leadership.
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GOP's New Strategy: use TikTok falsehoods to target LGBT Nonprofits Federal Funding

Every LGBT nonprofit in the nation should take note of something that happened last week and put it on their radar screen, as it very likely will put them under the microscope when applying for federal funding. Simply put, the Republicans have found a new way to go after our community by taking away funding from your local community center, your LGBT health clinic, your HIV/AIDS service organization, your LGBT youth programs, or even LGBT affordable senior housing. Any one of them could be next on the Republicans' hit list. And to do that, conservatives used fake information, and then Democratic Senators fell into their trap and defunded a one-million-dollar grant for renovations to a community center that since the 1970s has provided meals to HIV/AIDS patients, counseled homeless youth, provided senior programs, job training, and other services to low-income individuals, and served as a meeting place for scores of community organizations. Does this sound like your community center?
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Trump truth, UPDATE: Your Marriage

Please take note. It doesn't matter if Donald Trump declares bankruptcy. It doesn't matter if he is found guilty of any of the crimes he has been accused of, and it really doesn't even matter what any judge - including the Supreme Court - rules for or against him. It also doesn't matter if he tells Vladimir Putin to go ahead and bomb a NATO country. His base will still vote for him.
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Contests

Enter to win Pride: A Seek-and-Find Celebration

Enter to win Pride: A Seek-and-Find Celebration
Enter for a chance to win a copy of Pride: A Seek-and-Find Celebration.  To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, April 16, and Tuesday, May 7.
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Enter to win a digital download of The Samurai's Secret - A Tale of Forbidden Love!

Enter to win a digital download of The Samurai's Secret - A Tale of Forbidden Love!
Enter to win a digital download of The Samurai's Secret - A Tale of Forbidden Love! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, April 2, and Tuesday, April 23.
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