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Shawn Barber — Photo by Phil Noble / Reuters
Shawn Barber — Photo by Phil Noble / Reuters

United Nations urged to investigate Texas's anti-Queer legislation as "human rights crisis"
Human rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Equality Texas, GLAAD, and the Human Rights Campaign, have submitted a comprehensive report to call attention to the deteriorating human rights situation for the Queer community in Texas, particularly in light of recent legislation. Texans are now struggling with some 140 new laws that eliminate medical freedom for Trans youth, censor school libraries, ban Trans athletes from participating in collegiate sports, end DEI practices at public universities, and threaten drag performances. In December 2023, the UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern in a report over increasing state legislation in the US that restricts the rights of individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Toni Adkins announces bid to become first Queer California governor
Longtime California legislator Toni Atkins, a Democrat, announced Friday that she will run for governor. She had said late last year that she was considering a run, but this makes it official. She joins a crowded field of candidates seeking to succeed Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom when he leaves office due to term limits. If Atkins is elected, she would be not only the first out Queer person in the post but the first woman. The race is expected to include at least two other women. Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis has already announced she is running, and former comptroller Betty Yee plans to announce soon.

Florida GOP lawmakers move to ban Pride flags from schools
A bill advanced by Florida Republicans on Wednesday would ban teachers and other government employees from displaying a rainbow flag, but they could hang the full-size flag of any "recognized nation" according to the bill's sponsor. Flag displays that depict a "racial, sexual orientation and gender, or political ideology viewpoint" would be banned from any state or local government building, including public schools and universities, under the bill authored by GOP Rep. David Borrero. The bill, which would apply to all government entities and has one more House committee stop before being considered by the full chamber, is opposed by Democrats, who plan to hang Pride and BLM flags in their offices should the bill become law.

Club Q shooter to plead guilty to federal hate crimes
The shooter who killed five people and endangered the lives of over 40 others at a Queer nightclub in Colorado Springs plans to plead guilty to new federal charges of hate crimes and firearm violations under an agreement that would allow him to avoid the death penalty, according to court documents made public Tuesday. Anderson Aldrich, 23, made a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to 50 hate crime charges and 24 firearms violations, the documents show. Aldrich would get multiple life sentences in addition to a 190-year sentence under the proposed agreement, which needs a judge's approval. Aldrich was sentenced to life in prison last June after pleading guilty to state charges of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder — one for each person at Club Q during the attack on Nov. 19, 2022.

Queer Olympic pole vaulter Shawn Barber dies at 29
Shawn Barber, a world champion pole vaulter who came out as Gay in 2017, died Wednesday, January 17, at age 29. Barber passed away at his home in Kingwood, Texas. The stated cause of death was "medical complications," according to an online post from the University of Akron, his alma mater.