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Washington, D.C. — James Pollard / AP
Washington, D.C. — James Pollard / AP

White House pushes back against right-wing attacks over Trans Day of Visibility proclamation
Republican politicians and right-wing media figures have made baseless claims that President Joe Biden aimed to replace Easter with Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) this year. TDOV, observed annually on March 31, coincided with Easter Sunday, leading to misleading accusations against the Biden administration from conservatives. A White House spokesperson dismissed these attacks as unsurprising from certain politicians.

Easter's date changes each year based on astronomical events, while TDOV is fixed. Biden proclaimed TDOV in previous years, but outrage escalated before this Easter Sunday. Republican leaders such as Mike Johnson, Kevin Stitt, and Tate Reeves criticized Biden's acknowledgment of TDOV, claiming it undermined Easter. Former President Trump's spokesperson and others condemned the proclamation, viewing it as an insult to Christians.

Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson dismissed the outrage, clarifying that TDOV is celebrated annually on March 31.

Survey finds LGBTQ+ adults face discrimination, including in healthcare
The Kaiser Family Foundation's 2023 Racism, Discrimination, and Health Survey highlighted the ongoing challenges for LGBTQ+ adults, revealing that 65% faced discrimination, compared to 40% of non-LGBTQ+ people. In healthcare, LGBTQ+ people were twice as likely to experience mistreatment, including unfair treatment and disrespect, with racial bias compounding these issues for Black and Hispanic LGBTQ+ people.

Despite some positive interactions with providers, concerns about appearance and lower comfort levels persist, impacting mental health. Many LGBTQ+ respondents lacked strong local support networks, though they found satisfaction in meaningful connections.

These findings emphasize the continued need for improved inclusivity and support, especially in healthcare, to address discrimination and promote equitable treatment for LGBTQ+ people.

Tennessee: Police must compensate HIV+ man and update policies after denial of job
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) is making significant changes and paying financial compensation after denying a job to an HIV-positive Black man in 2020. The man sued the department, highlighting outdated hiring policies derived from US military criteria, which previously banned HIV-positive people.

However, public sentiment has shifted. Moreover, recent court decisions and an amendment to Davidson County's charter have recognized that HIV should not disqualify people from employment, mirroring advances in medical understanding.

As part of the settlement, Nashville will compensate the man, known as John Doe, and revise its Civil Service Medical Examiner's policies to explicitly state that HIV is not a barrier to employment as a police officer or first responder.

John Doe expressed satisfaction, stating that living with HIV should not hinder one's ability to serve the community. Lambda Legal, a key player in challenging HIV discrimination, welcomed the settlement as a step toward removing stigma and aligning laws with modern science.

Louisiana: RFK Human Rights Award goes to Trans Latina activist
Arely Westley, an LGBTQ+ and immigrant rights activist, has been awarded the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for her remarkable advocacy work in New Orleans. She has dedicated herself to supporting LGBTQ+ youth, challenging abuses in ICE detention centers, and improving immigrant support services.

Originally from Honduras, Westley moved to Louisiana as a young person and faced legal challenges related to her immigration status and identity. These experiences fueled her determination to fight against the criminalization of LGBTQ+ minors.

Today, she serves as the campaign director at BreakOUT!, an organization focused on empowering Black and Latinx Transgender and gender-nonconforming youth through leadership programs.

According to The Advocate, Westley expressed gratitude for the recognition, especially as a Trans woman of color and an undocumented Latina woman, acknowledging the unique challenges she has faced in the United States.

Wisconsin: Lawsuit alleges Milwaukee principal bullied, harassed child of Gay parents
According to CBS 58 in Milwaukee, a federal lawsuit accuses Kasongo Kalumbula, a current Milwaukee Public Schools principal, of bullying and harassing a first-grade student with Gay parents while he was an assistant principal at another school. The suit also names the Milwaukee School Board of Directors.

Allegations include physical and verbal abuse, singling out for discipline, and using homophobic slurs. Kalumbula reportedly threatened the child, locked him in a dark room, and made derogatory comments about his parents.

Civil rights attorney Elisabeth Lambert filed the lawsuit, citing at least three other LGBTQ+ families leaving the school due to Kalumbula's behavior. Despite complaints to the district, supportive services were not offered. The child's parents eventually withdrew him from the school due to continued hostility.

Kalumbula, now principal at MPS's Bethune Academy, has not responded to the allegations. MPS issued a standard response, stating that it takes student matters seriously and addresses them according to policy.

Idaho: Boise State professor behind anti-LGBTQ+, conservative website
A recent report reveals that Scott Yenor, a professor at Boise State University in Idaho, was behind the short-lived but impactful website Action Idaho, which promoted anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments and far-right ideologies. Yenor's involvement in the site has sparked concerns about potential conflicts between his role as a public university professor and his political activism.

Despite not publicly acknowledging his connection to the site, documents obtained by The Guardian detail Yenor's significant role in its operations. Emails show Yenor seeking funding for the platform, describing it as an outlet to promote conservative values and challenge the state's establishment.

Action Idaho, active from early 2022 for nearly two years, targeted the LGBTQ+ community: "Action Idaho reserved a particular antipathy for Idaho's LGBTQ+ community," wrote The Guardian. One article was headlined "LGBTQ+ Pride Fest Is a Groomer Fest."

Progressive activists expressed concerns about mainstreaming extremism in Idaho politics and the implications of an educator promoting such ideologies.

Florida: Settlement reached between Disney and Tourism Oversight District
The Associated Press reports that allies of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Walt Disney World have reached a settlement agreement in a state court dispute regarding the future development of the theme park resort. The agreement comes after almost two years of litigation sparked by DeSantis' takeover of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District from Disney supporters, following the company's opposition to Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law.

The settlement, approved by DeSantis-appointed board members of the district, marks a resolution to the contentious issue. Under the agreement, covenants and a development agreement made with Disney supporters before the state takeover will be dropped, and the new board will operate under an earlier plan.

Walt Disney World Resort President Jeff Vahle expressed satisfaction with the settlement, highlighting its potential for continued investment and job creation in the state. Gov. DeSantis also commented, stating that the actions he took have been vindicated.