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Photo courtesy of Chandler Morris
Photo courtesy of Chandler Morris

Michigan school board to paint over Trans-inclusive student mural
A school board in Grant, Michigan, has ruled that a student mural must be painted over by the end of October. The mural caused controversy for depicting LGBTQ+ imagery, including a child wearing the Trans flag on their shirt and two others with the Bisexual flags on theirs. The artwork was created by Evelyn Gonzales, who won a student art contest to create a mural for the health center. While angry members of the community may have gotten their way by securing a deal to cover up the mural, the school's superintendent said they are proud of Gonzales, and a GoFundMe campaign has since been set up to cover her future college expenses.

Bisexual Awareness Week
This week, America celebrated Bisexual Awareness Week. The annual recognition of the "B" in LGBTQ+ was first started by GLAAD and BiNet USA. The week aims to educate Americans on the unique struggles and experiences of the Biseuxal members of the community, who account for over half of all Americans who identify as LGBTQ+.

Book bans continue to soar
Book bans have reached a historic high in the United States as of Wednesday, September 20. A new report from the American Library Association revealed that between January 1 and August 31, 2023, there were 695 attempts to censor library materials and services nationwide. This is a 20% increase from the same time last year. The study also showed that 1,915 unique titles have been challenged and/or banned in 2023. Among them, books written by and about BIPOC and LGBTQ+ topics are the most challenged.

Census prepares to add more questions about LGBTQ+ identities
On Tuesday, September 19, the Census Bureau requested permission from the Biden administration to test new questions about gender and sexual orientation for participants 15 and older on its comprehensive American Community Survey, which collects data from 3.5 million households annually. Currently, the US Census only asks about married or cohabiting same-sex couples.

Olivia Hill — Photo courtesy of LGBTQ+ Victory Fund  

Tennessee elects first Trans lawmaker
Tennessee elected its first Transgender lawmaker on Thursday, September 14. Olivia Hill secured 12% of the vote to score a seat on Nashville's Metro Council. Hill has an impressive résumé, having served as an engineer in the Navy for ten years, worked as an engineer at Vanderbilt University, and served on the board of directors for the Tennessee Pride Chamber. She was also one of the grand marshals in the 2023 Nashville Pride Parade.

Texas teacher fired for Anne Frank
A Texas teacher was removed from an eighth-grade classroom for attempting to teach The Diary of Anne Frank using a graphic novel, which reportedly contained content about genitalia and attraction to women, and images of nude statues. The teacher was sent home on September 13, and has since been fired.

Kansas no longer allows adults to change gender identity on birth certificates
The state health department of Kansas announced on Friday, September 15, that it will no longer allow Transgender people to change their gender identity on their birth certificates. The decision came after the state passed a new law on July 1, which defines male and female based only on the sex assigned to a person at birth. The state's Republican attorney general, Kris Kobach, filed court documents earlier this year formally requesting the state to make changes to reflect the new law.

Kim Davis to pay $100,000 for discrimination against Gay couple
David Ermold and David Moore, a Kentucky couple who made headlines in 2015 when they were denied a marriage license by a county clerk, have now been awarded $100,000 by a federal jury who oversaw their discrimination case. Kim Davis, the former county clerk, must pay each man $50,000. Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples due to her religious beliefs. Her attorney argues that the ruling was unconstitutional and plans to appeal to the Supreme Court.