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Our picks for the top national and international stories of 2013



mass wedding, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, Supreme Court, Proposition 8, Defense of Marriage Act, Prop 8, DOMA, gay news, LGBT, Washington Blade, marriage equality
mass wedding, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, Supreme Court, Proposition 8, Defense of Marriage Act, Prop 8, DOMA, gay news, LGBT, Washington Blade, marriage equality, year

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

It was perhaps the biggest year yet for the LGBT rights movement in the United States, as the Supreme Court made history by striking down Prop 8 and part of the Defense of Marriage Act. More states legalized marriage in its wake. Elsewhere in the world, the Catholic Church got a new pope who seemed to break with his predecessor over gay rights, among other issues.

Here are the Blade staff’s picks for the year’s top 10 national and international stories.

#1 Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, Prop 8


Proposition 8, Supreme Court, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

The plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case at the Supreme Court emerge victorious with lawyer David Boies, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and American Foundation for Equal Rights Executive Director Adam Umhoefer. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of historic decisions against the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 in a news event we have dubbed the story of the year.

In a 5-4 decision, the court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, the 1996 Clinton-era law that prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage. In a separate 5-4 decision issued at the same time, the court ruled the proponents of Prop 8 couldn’t defend the initiative in court, allowing a district court ruling to stand that determined the 2008 amendment was unconstitutional.

Writing for the majority in the decision against DOMA, U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy emphasized the harm the anti-gay law causes married same-sex couples.

“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Kennedy wrote. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”

The DOMA lawsuit was brought by New York widow Edith Windsor as a result of having to pay $363,000 in estate taxes in 2009 upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer. Windsor became a symbol of the marriage equality movement and was named by Time magazine as its No. 3 pick for “Person of the Year” after her victory at the Supreme Court.

The ruling against Prop 8 restored marriage equality to California. Thousands of same-sex couples — beginning with plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandra Stier, who were wed by California Attorney General Kamala Harris at San Francisco City Hall — began to marry after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave the go-ahead weeks after the decision.

Immediately after the ruling against DOMA, the Obama administration pledged to work toward implementing the decision to allow for the recognition of same-sex marriage by the federal government. At a news conference during a trip to Africa, President Obama pledged to make the federal benefits of marriage as widely available as possible.

“It’s my personal belief — but I’m speaking now as a president as opposed to as a lawyer — that if you’ve been married in Massachusetts and you move someplace else, you’re still married, and that under federal law you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple,” Obama said.

Then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued guidance saying bi-national same-sex couples would be able to apply for marriage-based green cards to enable them to stay in the United States. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management announced that spousal benefits, including health and pension benefits, would begin to flow to gay federal employees. Perhaps most significantly, the Internal Revenue Service announced it would recognize the marriages of same-sex couples for tax purposes — even if they file tax returns while living in a non-marriage equality state.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also announced that service members in same-sex marriages would be able to receive spousal benefits, including health, pension and housing benefits. Several national guards with state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage said they would be unable to process these benefits, but after a second edict from Hagel saying they must comply, each of those states fell in line.

Within a few short months, the ruling against DOMA also helped accelerate the path toward marriage equality throughout individual states. In Ohio, a federal judge recognized the marriage of a same-sex couple that married at BWI airport because one of the partners in the relationship was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Later, a New Jersey superior court ruled the state’s civil union law was insufficient — a decision the State Supreme Court let stand upon appeal from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who later the dropped the lawsuit.

Doug NeJaime, a gay law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said this movement so soon after the Windsor ruling “was anticipated” given the language that Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy used in his opinion.

“Given the flurry of activity, and the quick decisions coming out of places like Ohio, this may mean that the Supreme Court may not be able to avoid the question regarding the constitutionality of state marriage bans as long as some of the justices may hope,” NeJaime said.


#2 States, countries extend marriage rights 


Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii, Washington Blade, gay

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Nov. 13, 2013, signed his state’s same-sex marriage bill into law. (Photo courtesy of State of Hawaii/Office of the Governor)

The movement for marriage rights for same-sex couples made significant advances in the U.S. and around the world in 2013.

In addition to Maryland and Delaware, gays and lesbians began to legally marry in California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Minnesota and Hawaii. Illinois’s same-sex marriage law that Gov. Pat Quinn signed last month will take effect in June.

New Zealand and Uruguay also extended marriage rights to same-sex couples in 2013.

Brazil’s National Council of Justice in May nearly unanimously ruled that registrars in the South American country cannot deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Gays and lesbians in England and Wales on March 29 will begin to exchange vows after the British Parliament over the summer approved a same-sex marriage bill. An identical measure cleared its first hurdle in the Scottish Parliament last month.

The legal process to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Mexico continued to gain ground in Baja California, Guanajuato, Jalisco and other states in 2013. A handful of gays and lesbians have exchanged vows in Colombia, but the country’s attorney general has challenged some of them.

Croatian voters on Dec. 1 approved a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Australia High Court on Dec. 11 ruled a law that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples in the country’s capital is unconstitutional.


#3 Senate passes ENDA; House version stalls 


Tammy Baldwin, gay news, Washington Blade, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, United States Senate, Democratic Party, Wisconsin, religious exemptions

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) spoke in a press conference following the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the U.S. Senate. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key).

For the first time in history, the U.S. Senate approved with bipartisan support this year a long sought piece of legislation that would bar employers from discriminating against or firing workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

By a vote of 64-32, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed the Senate, marking the first time that either chamber of Congress has passed a version of the bill with protections for transgender workers. A total of 10 Republicans joined the entire Democratic caucus present in voting for the bill.

Prior to the vote, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), ENDA’s chief sponsor, delivered a speech on the Senate floor recognizing the historic nature of the moment.

“I look forward to this vote, this vote for liberty, this vote for freedom, this vote for opportunity, this vote for a fair and just America,” Merkley said.

Despite a push to bring up the legislation in the House, momentum on ENDA seems to have stalled as the legislation has capped out at 201 sponsors and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has continually said he opposes it.

“I understand people have differing opinions on this issue, and I respect those opinions,” Boehner said in response to a question from the Washington Blade. “But as someone who’s worked in the employment law area for all my years in the State House and all my years here, I see no basis or no need for this legislation.”

#4 Russia’s LGBT crackdown sparks outrage


Russia, anti-gay, gay news, Washington Blade

Activists protested in front of the Russian embassy several times throughout the year following the passage of anti-gay laws in the country. (Washington Blade photo by Damien Salas)

The Kremlin’s LGBT rights crackdown sparked widespread outrage this past year amid preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics that will take place in Sochi, Russia, in February.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in June signed a broadly worded bill into law that bans gay propaganda to minors. A second statute that bans foreign same-sex couples and any couple from a country in which gays and lesbians can marry from adopting Russian children took effect in July.

LGBT rights groups and other organizations that receive funding from outside Russia could face a fine if they don’t register as a “foreign agent.”

“These laws are aimed at driving LGBT people back into silence, back underground, back to the invisibility,” Polina Andrianova of Coming Out, a St. Petersburg-based LGBT advocacy group, told the Washington Blade during an August interview.

Playwright Harvey Fierstein is among those who have called for a boycott of the Sochi games in response to Russia’s LGBT rights crackdown. The International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee have also faced criticism from those who feel they have not done enough to publicly criticize the Kremlin over the gay propaganda law.

“The U.S. Olympic Committee has been complicit in this act of aggression because they say we respect Russia’s right to do this,” U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) told the Washington Blade in late September before the USOC added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy. “That is not worthy of Olympic standards.”

Retired Olympic diver Greg Louganis on Dec. 13 told the Blade that gay MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts should not have co-hosted the Miss Universe 2013 pageant in November in Moscow. The four-time gold medalist also said gay singer Elton John should not have performed in Russia earlier this month.

“It just seems like all they’re doing is lending credibility to what’s going on there,” said Louganis.


#5 LGBT Catholics welcome Pope Francis


Pope Francis, Catholic Church, gay news, Washington Blade

‘If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and is of good will, who am I to judge him,’ said Pope Francis. (Photo by Agência Brasil; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

LGBT Catholics in 2013 welcomed Pope Francis’ more moderate tone toward gays.

The College of Cardinals on March 16 elected the former archbishop of Buenos Aires to succeed Pope Benedict XVI who abruptly resigned in February.

The Argentine pontiff said during a September interview with an Italian Jesuit newspaper that the Roman Catholic church has grown “obsessed” with nuptials for gays and lesbians, abortion and contraception. These comments came roughly two months after he told reporters as he returned to Rome after a weeklong trip to Brazil that gays and lesbians should not be judged or marginalized.

“If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and is of good will, who am I to judge him?” said Francis in response to a question about gay priests.

LGBT rights advocates in Argentina noted to the Washington Blade the pontiff categorized the same-sex marriage bill the country’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, signed in 2010 as “the work of the devil” that would “spark God’s war.”

Dignity USA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke acknowledged Francis’ anti-LGBT statements after his election. She remains optimistic the new pontiff will welcome LGBT Catholics back into the church.

“We find much to be hopeful about, particularly in the Pope’s firm desire that the church be a ‘home for all people,’ and his belief that God looks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people with love rather than condemnation,” said Duddy-Burke in a September statement.


#6 Obama names gay ambassadors, judges


John Berry, Australia, gay news, Washington Blade

John Berry was named U.S. Ambassador to Australia. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The U.S. Senate approved this year several openly gay appointees — including the first openly gay federal appeals judge — in confirmations that were historic both in number and significance.

Among the confirmed appointees were five openly gay ambassadors, including former U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry as U.S. ambassador to Australia. The confirmation made him the first openly gay U.S. ambassador to a G-20 country.

Also among the gay confirmations were Daniel Baer as U.S. ambassador to Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe; Rufus Gifford as U.S. ambassador to Denmark; James Costos as U.S. ambassador to Spain; and James “Wally” Brewster as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

Additionally, the Senate confirmed Eric Fanning as under secretary of the Air Force. After the departure of his immediate boss shortly after the confirmation, Fanning became acting secretary of the Air Force, making him the highest-ranking openly gay civilian in the U.S. military.

Chai Feldblum, the lesbian member of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was confirmed for a second term after leading the way for a ruling instituting transgender workplace non-discrimination protections.

The Senate also confirmed openly gay judicial nominees. The highest-ranking among them was Todd Hughes, who was confirmed as circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He’s the first openly gay person to serve a federal appeals court.

The other confirmations were Pamela Ki Mai Chen as U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York; Michael McShane as U.S. District Judge for the District of Oregon; and Nitza Quiñones Alejandro as U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.



#7 Trans protections recognized under Title IX


The Obama administration made a historic ruling for transgender rights this year by applying existing law to protect students in school on the basis of their gender identity.

The Departments of Education and Justice announced the resolution as a result of a complaint filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights on behalf of a transgender student in California’s Arcadia Unified School District. The resolution requires the school district to treat the student as male in all respects and keep his transgender status private.

NCLR Staff Attorney Asaf Orr commended the Obama administration for taking the step “to ensure that schools are safe and supportive environments where all students can thrive, including transgender students.”

The resolution represents a growing legal and administrative trend to interpret existing law — in this case, Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 — to ban discrimination against trans people.

Prior to the ruling, the student was required to sleep in a cabin by himself on an overnight field trip instead of being allowed to room with his male peers. The school district also excluded the student from the boys’ restroom and locker room, insisting that he use the nurse’s office.

The student, who remained anonymous, said he’s glad his school district agreed to put in place the resolution proposed by the Obama administration.

“Knowing that I have the school district’s support, I can focus on learning and being a typical high school student, like my friends,” the student said.


#8 Obama references Stonewall in inaugural speech


Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, inauguration 2013, gay news, Washington Blade

In a first, President Obama made two references to gay rights during his inaugural address in January. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama stirred passions in the LGBT community by making an unprecedented reference to LGBT rights during his second-term inaugural address and saying he believes gay people deserve equal treatment under the law.

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” Obama said.

The words marked the first time that any U.S. president mentioned gay rights during an inaugural address and sent shockwaves through the LGBT community.

Also during the speech, Obama made a reference to the 1969 Stonewall riots, which are considered the start of the modern LGBT rights movement.

“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth,” Obama said.


 #9: Gay mayors in Seattle, Houston; Quinn loses in New York


Christine Quinn, New York City, gay news, Washington Blade

Lesbian Christine Quinn started her mayoral campaign a heavy favorite but ultimately lost in New York’s primary. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Lesbian Annise Parker won election to her third and final term as mayor of Houston, on Nov. 5, receiving a decisive 57 percent of the vote in a nine-candidate race.

In Seattle, Washington State Sen. Ed Murray defeated incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn by a margin of 56 percent to 43 percent to become that city’s first openly gay mayor.

And in Atlantic City, N.J., gay Republican Don Guardian shook up the political establishment by winning an upset victory over incumbent Mayor Lorenzo Langford, a Democrat, in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans among registered voters by a nine to one margin. Guardian ran as a socially progressive reform candidate with a record as a highly competent administrator of services for the city’s tourist district.

Meanwhile, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn lost her race to become New York’s first openly gay and first female mayor, finishing third in a hotly contested Democratic primary in September. A New York Times exit poll showed pro-LGBT candidate Bill deBlasio, who won the primary and the general election in November, beat Quinn among LGBT voters by a margin of 47 percent to 34 percent in a four candidate race.

Most political observers said LGBT voters joined the majority of their straight counterparts in backing deBlasio, who emerged as more progressive on economic issues than Quinn and who was perceived as an outspoken critic of incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is highly unpopular among Democratic voters. Quinn had long been viewed as a Bloomberg ally.


# 10 Manning gets 35 years, comes out as trans


Bradley Manning, wikileaks, gay news, Washington Blade

Manning announced she is transitioning one day after being sentenced for leaking classified documents. (Public domain photo)

One day after a military judge sentenced former U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, the 25-year-old soldier released a statement through her attorney coming out as transgender.

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.”

Manning’s dramatic announcement shifted the media focus from that of her conviction in an Army court martial proceeding of violating the U.S. Espionage Act for leaking an unprecedented amount of classified information to the issue of who transgender people are and whether they should be entitled to equal rights.

Some transgender rights advocates said Manning’s case would hurt efforts to lift the military’s ban on transgender service members by casting transgender people in a negative light. Transgender activists Brynn Tannehill and Autumn Sandeen, who served in the military before transitioning, said they were especially troubled by arguments by Manning’s attorney that Manning’s struggle over her gender identity created stress that played some role in her decision to leak classified information.

“In my last four years in the Navy I was grappling with gender identity yet I did my job” and didn’t release classified information,” Sandeen said.


By Lou Chibbaro Jr., Chris Johnson and Michael Lavers

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  1. Michael Bedwell

    January 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    And why the failure to mention late DC resident and father of the modern gay rights movement Frank Kameny's beautiful memorialization on a Chicago street while locally he's remembered only in a short street's name the reason for which no one outside the Community…..or young…."gets"?

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Activists demand ICE release transgender, HIV-positive detainees

Protest took place outside agency’s D.C. headquarters on Wednesday



Jessycka Ckatallea Letona, an indigenous transgender woman from Guatemala who spent nearly two years in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, participated in a protest in front of ICE's headquarters in Southwest D.C. on Oct. 27, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Jessycka Ckatallea Letona is an indigenous transgender woman from Guatemala who fled persecution in her homeland because of her gender identity.

She asked for asylum in the U.S. in 2016 when she entered the country in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Ckatallea on Wednesday told the Washington Blade that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials placed her in a pod with 70 men at a privately-run detention center in Florence, Ariz. She also said personnel at another ICE detention center in Santa Ana, Calif., ridiculed her because of her gender identity and forced her to strip naked before she attended hearings in her asylum case.

Ckatallea spent a year and eight months in ICE custody before her release. She won her asylum case and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“It was a very traumatic experience,” said Ckatallea as she spoke with the Blade in front of ICE’s headquarters in Southwest D.C. “I came to a country thinking that it would take care of me, that it would protect me because of my gender identity.”

Ckatallea is one of the more than a dozen immigrant rights activists who participated in a protest in front of ICE’s headquarters that Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Immigration Equality and the End Trans Detention campaign organized. Ckatallea, Immigration Equality Executive Director Aaron Morris and other protest participants demanded ICE immediately release trans people and people with HIV/AIDS from their custody.

The groups placed on the sidewalk in front of the building a Day of the Dead “ofrenda” to honor three trans women—Victoria Orellano, Roxsana Hernández and Johana “Joa” Medina León—who died in ICE custody or immediately after their release. The “ofrenda” also paid tribute to Pablo Sánchez Gotopo, a Venezuelan man with AIDS who died in ICE custody on Oct. 1.

Immigrant rights activists on Oct. 27, 2021, placed a Day of the Dead “ofrenda” outside U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Southwest D.C. that honored three transgender women and a man with AIDS who died while in ICE custody or immediately upon their release. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Ckatallea, Morris and the other protesters approached the building’s entrance and presented security personnel with a petition that calls upon President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to “immediately release all transgender people, people living with HIV, and people with medical conditions from ICE custody.”

ICE has repeatedly defended its treatment of trans people and people with HIV/AIDS who are in their custody.

The Blade in July 2020 interviewed a person with HIV who was in ICE custody at the Adams County Detention Center, the same privately-run facility in which Gotopo was held until his hospitalization. The person with whom the Blade spoke described conditions inside the detention center as “not safe” because personnel were not doing enough to protect them and other detainees from COVID-19.

Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) is among the dozens of lawmakers who have called for the release of all trans people and people with HIV/AIDS from ICE custody. The Illinois Democrat on Tuesday reiterated this call during a virtual briefing that Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Immigration Equality and the End Trans Detention Campaign organized.

“ICE’s clear inability to do better leads me to seek to end of ICE’s detention of all trans migrants,” said Quigley. “During both the Trump and Biden administration I led dozens of my colleagues to demand that ICE release transgender detainees and end its practice of holding trans migrants in custody. We had hoped that things would change with the new administration, so far I’m disappointed.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) also participated in the briefing alongside Immigration Equality Legal Director Bridget Crawford and Sharita Gruberg of the Center for American Progress and others.

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Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott signs anti-Trans youth sports bill

“Despite the powerful testimony of trans kids & adults- the emails to the Governor to veto this harmful piece of legislation it is now law”



Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott (Blade file screenshot)

AUSTIN – Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Monday H.B. 25, an anti-Transgender youth sports bill banning Trans K-12 student-athletes from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity. 

H.B. 25 is the 9th statewide bill signed into law this year banning transgender youth from participating in school sports and the 10th in the country. This bill also comes during a year when Texas lawmakers have proposed nearly 70 anti-LGBTQ bills, including more than 40 bills that specifically target transgender and nonbinary youth — far more than any other state.

“We are devastated at the passage of this bill. Despite the powerful testimony of trans kids and adults, families and advocates, and the many emails and calls our community placed to the Governor’s office to veto this harmful piece of legislation it is now law,” Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, said.

“Most immediately, our focus is our community and integrating concepts of healing justice to provide advocates who have already been harmed by this bill with spaces to refill their cup and unpack the acute trauma caused by these legislative sessions. Our organizations will also begin to shift focus to electing pro-equality lawmakers who understand our issues and prioritize representing the vast majority of Texans who firmly believe that discrimination against trans and LGB+ people is wrong,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Texas state government was criticized for removing web pages with resources for LGBTQ youth, including information about The Trevor Project’s crisis services. The Trevor Project the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ young people.

“Transgender and nonbinary youth are already at higher risk for poor mental health and suicide because of bullying, discrimination, and rejection. This misguided legislation will only make matters worse,” Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

To every trans Texan who may be feeling hurt and attacked by this legislation and months of ugly political debate — please know that you are valid, and you are deserving of equal opportunity, dignity and respect. The Trevor Project is here for you 24/7 if you ever need support, and we will continue fighting alongside a broad coalition of advocates to challenge this law,” Paley said.


Additional resources:

Research consistently demonstrates that transgender and nonbinary youth face unique mental health challenges and an elevated risk for bullying and suicide risk compared to their peers.  

  • The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than half (52%) of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 1 in 5 attempted suicide. 94% of LGBTQ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health. 
  • A newly published research brief on “Bullying and Suicide Risk among LGBTQ Youth,” found that 61% of transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) students reported being bullied either in-person or electronically in the past year, compared to 45% of cisgender LGBQ students. TGNB students who were bullied in the past year reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who were not. And TGNB students who said their school was LGBTQ-affirming reported significantly lower rates of being bullied (55%) compared to those in schools that weren’t LGBTQ-affirming (65%).
  • A 2020 peer-reviewed study found that transgender and nonbinary youth who report experiencing discrimination based on their gender identity had more than double the odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not experience discrimination based on their gender identity.
  • Trevor’s research has also found that a majority of LGBTQ young people (68%) had never participated in sports for a school or community league or club — with many citing fear of bullying and discrimination as a key factor for not participating.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at, or by texting START to 678678.

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Ohio high school cancels play with Gay character after Pastor complains

The School’s fall production of “She Kills Monsters” was scheduled to open in less than one month until the play was canceled



Hillsboro High School (Screenshot via Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO-TV)

HILLSBORO, Oh. — A Southwest Ohio high school’s play was abruptly canceled after Jeff Lyle, a local pastor from Good News Gathering, complained of a gay character. 

Hillsboro High School’s fall production of “She Kills Monsters” was scheduled to open in less than one month, until students learned the play would be canceled last week, reports Cincinnati’s ABC affiliate WCPO

The story follows a high school senior as she learns about her late sister’s life. It is implied throughout the play that her sister is gay, according to the news station.

The play’s cancellation comes a week after Lyle, a long-time voice of the anti-LGBTQ+ religious-right in Ohio, and a group of parents confronted the production’s directors at a meeting, according to Cincinnati CBS affiliate Local 12. Lyle denies pressuring school officials, but tells WCPO he supports the decision.

“From a Biblical worldview this play is inappropriate for a number of reasons, e.g. sexual innuendo, implied sexual activity between unmarried persons, repeated use of foul language including taking the Lord’s name in vain,” Lyle said. 

Some families say they believe Lyle did influence the school’s decision. 

“I think that’s wrong,” Jon Polstra, a father of one of the actors, told WCPO. “All they would have had to do if they objected to something in the play was not go to the play.”

In a statement to Local 12, Hillsboro City Schools Superintendent Tim Davis said the play was canceled because it “was not appropriate for our K-12 audience.”

The Lexington Herald Leader reports that the school planned to perform a version intended for audiences as young as 11 years old. 

Students were “devastated” and “blindsided” by the news, according to WCPO. 

“It felt like we had just been told, ‘Screw off and your lives don’t matter,'” Christopher Cronan, a Hillsboro High student, said. “I am openly bisexual in that school and I have faced a lot of homophobia there, but I never expected them to cancel a play for a fictional character.”

Cronan’s father, Ryan, also voiced his frustration. 

“They want to say the town is just not ready, but how are you not ready? It’s 2021,” Ryan Cronan said.

Students have started a GoFundMe in hopes of putting on the production at a community theater in 2022.

“If we do raise enough money, I am going to be genuinely happy for a very long time, because that means people do care,” Cronan told WCPO.

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