The Department of Health and Human Services rolled back nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.

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Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With just days left to go, the Trump administration has taken one last swing at nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Americans.

The Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule on Tuesday, allowing agencies that receive federal grants to legally discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. The rule change will affect adoption and foster care, health care, HIV prevention, elder care programs, homelessness, and other social services.

The new guidance reverses an Obama-era policy prohibiting agencies from discriminating on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion, and requiring them to recognize same-sex marriages. …

We can’t have unity without consequences.

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Image: Leah Millis/Reuters

As House Democrats prepare to impeach President Donald Trump over his role in the attack on the Capitol last week, many Republican lawmakers are pushing back.

Calling the move “divisive,” conservative officials are claiming that what the country needs right now is unity, and to them, that can only be achieved by blatantly ignoring the fact that the president incited a violent insurrection against the government, which directly resulted in the deaths of five people.

“The attack at the Capitol was a despicable act of terrorism and a shocking assault on our democratic system. We must come together and put this anger and division behind us,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said immediately after the attack on Wednesday, suggesting that holding the president accountable for his actions is bad for the country. …

Hawley is simply facing the consequences of his own actions

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Image: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Simon & Schuster announced on Thursday that it has decided not to publish Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book following this week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building.

Hawley was spotted cheering on rioters and far-right extremists right before they breached the Capitol on Wednesday. He was also one of six senators who objected to certifying the results of the presidential election.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Simon & Schuster said in a statement on Thursday. “As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: at the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.” …

The attack on the Capitol Building is the result of Trumpism.

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Image: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A violent mob of Trump supporters and far right extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, engaging in what can only be referred to as an act of insurrection.

At President Donald Trump’s behest, extremists breached the building in an attempt to overthrow the presidential election and undermine democracy. Rioters climbed walls, smashed windows, and clashed with police as they forced their way into the Capitol, causing lawmakers and staffers to sequester and evacuate. The Senate was in the process of certifying the election results when the building and Senate Chambers were breached.

While some members of the mob paraded around the Capitol carrying Confederate flags and wearing QAnon paraphernalia, others hung nooses and flashed the “OK” hand signal, which has emerged as a symbol of white power. And in the midst of all the chaos and violence, one woman was even shot and killed. …

Andrew Sullivan thinks lesbians have disappeared. He couldn’t be more wrong.

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Image: Mercedes Mehling/Unsplash

Former New York Magazine writer and current Substack blogger Andrew Sullivan published an article in The Spectator on Monday titled, “Where have all the lesbians gone?” In the article, he alleges that lesbians are supposedly disappearing off the face of the earth because transgender and nonbinary people exist.

Taking on a rather patronizing and patriarchal tone, Sullivan claims that he “misses” lesbians because he wants us to take care of him and balance out his apparently very man-centered world. …

Mitch McConnell objected to Democrats’ attempt to increase stimulus checks.

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Image: Tom Williams/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Democrats’ effort to quickly hold a vote on a stand-alone measure to increase stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000 on Tuesday. This move comes just one day after the House of Representatives passed the bill with bipartisan support.

Despite requests from Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Bernie Sanders to fast-track the bill, McConnell objected. While he did not explain why he objected, he signaled his support of President Donald Trump’s demands to increase stimulus checks, repeal Section 230, and investigate election fraud.

“Those are the three important subjects the president has linked together. This week the Senate will begin a process to bring those three priorities into focus,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. …

Transphobia is not bravery. It’s hatred.

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Image: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was nominated for the BBC’s annual Russell Prize for best writing on Monday for the transphobic essay she self-published earlier this year.

In a round-up of the prize’s winner and nominees, BBC News Media Editor Amol Rajan praised Rowling for her “bravery” for speaking out on the “transgender debate.” While Rajan acknowledged that Rowling’s words have hurt and offended many people, he also argued that “offense is the price of free speech.”

“I take absolutely no view whatsoever on the issues that she raises.
I do take an issue on abuse and trolling, and Rowling has achieved the inglorious honor of topping many a league table for those,” he wrote. …

Nearly 400 religious leaders are calling for an end to anti-LGBTQ+ violence.

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Image: Joe Mabel/Wikipedia Commons

Hundreds of religious leaders around the world are taking a stand against LGBTQ+ conversion therapy.

More than 370 international faith leaders from 35 countries signed a declaration on Wednesday calling for a global ban on the harmful practice. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop Emeritus of South Africa, was among the signatories of the declaration.

Led by the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives, the declaration marked the launch of the commission, which aims to “provide a strong and authoritative voice from religious leaders across the global faith community who wish to affirm and celebrate the dignity of all.”

The declaration acknowledges and affirms all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions and calls for an end to violence against LGBTQ+ people, expressing regret for any and all religious teachings that have helped to contribute to the marginalization, rejection, and alienation of queer and trans people around the world. The declaration also calls on all nations to help bring an end to the criminalization of LGBTQ+ people. …

Framing transphobia as a debate is simply dishonest

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Image: Zackary Drucker/The Gender Spectrum Collection

The lives and rights of LGBTQ+ people have always been hotly debated and politicized. Every step toward equality and fairness has been met with vitriol and opposition. And while gay and queer acceptance has grown substantially within the past decade or so, transgender and nonbinary people are still regularly openly mocked and vilified.

While hostility toward trans people is unfortunately nothing new, 2020 has seen an alarming wave of anti-trans bigotry. Pundits, celebrities, and lawmakers have all entered the chat on the so-called “trans debate” and what they have to say is nothing short of dangerous.

J.K. Rowling has been one of the biggest culprits of anti-trans rhetoric this year. Over the summer, the Harry Potter author went on a transphobic tweet storm all because a Devex article used the language “people who menstruate” to refer to, well, people who menstruate. …

The Department of Labor finalized a rule allowing anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.

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Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

With just over a month left in office, the Trump administration has made a last ditch effort to rollback nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Americans.

The US Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs quietly issued a final rule on Monday, allowing federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ+ employees under the guise of religious freedom.

Initially proposed in 2019, the new rule expands religious exemptions to nondiscrimination protections for faith-based contractors and for-profit companies who may “prefer” employees of a certain religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Previously, the rule only applied to faith-based non-profit organizations.

The new rule seeks to provide a “clearer interpretation” of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Former President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2014, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to this list of protected classes. …


Catherine Caruso

Freelance writer covering culture, politics, and LGBTQ+ rights.

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