Court Matters

Federal Appeals Court panel hears case involving gay teacher fired from religious school. On September 20th, A three-judge panel at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia heard a case involving the termination of a substitute drama teacher at a Catholic high school who was dismissed after announcing his marriage to his male spouse; the court is considering whether the teacher had religious duties that bar him from suing a North Carolina school over his firing, despite his not being a member of the clergy.

Federal Matters

U.S. Census Bureau seeks permission to ask questions on sexual orientation and gender identity in annual survey. On September 19th, the U.S. Census Bureau asked the Biden Administration for permission to include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity for people age 15 and over for the American Community Survey (ACS), which collects data annually from a large sample size of 3.5 million households. 

President Biden highlights LGBTQ+ rights and PEPFAR in UN General Assembly speech. In his speech, President Biden emphasized the importance of protecting LGBTQI+ rights globally, including the rights of intersex people. He also spoke about the impact of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in the US and abroad, saying the program has saved 25 million lives.

Pentagon creates outreach program for military members affected by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. The Department of Defense has launched a new program to reach out to LGBTQ+ service members who were affected by the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy between 1994 and 2011. The program aims to correct any mistakes or injustices in their military records.

State Matters

Warning: While some of the following stories describe legislative actions to celebrate and affirm LGBTQ+ people, many cover legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community, particularly trans and non-binary youth. Please be kind to yourself and use your discretion while reading this section. 

Advisory: State news is representative but not exhaustive due to space constraint; feel free to forward news about your state to to consider for inclusion.

California - State Assembly approves resolution to declare August as Transgender History Month. The State Assembly passed the resolution marking August as Transgender History Month by a vote of 58-0. The resolution does not require approval from the Senate or the governor's office and therefore takes immediate effect.

Kansas - Department of Health will no longer change transgender people's birth certificates to reflect their gender identities. The decision complies with a new state law, SB 26, which took effect July 1st and defines male and female based on sex assigned at birth, not gender identity. 

Kentucky - Gay couple who were denied marriage license win $100,000 payout. In 2015, then-County Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue a marriage license to the couple, citing her religious objections to same-sex marriage. She was briefly jailed for contempt for her actions and her office later issued the license on her behalf. In a subsequent legal case that ended on September 20th, the couple was awarded $50,000 each by a jury.

North Dakota - North Dakota families sue state over ban on gender-affirming care. On September 14th, three families of transgender minors and a physician, represented by Gender Justice, the Lawyering Project, and Ciresi Conlin LLP, filed a lawsuit seeking to block HB 1254, which prohibits transgender and nonbinary minors from accessing medically necessary gender affirming medications such as puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy. 

Texas - Students protest outside Katy ISD’s Educational Support Complex over anti- trans policies. On September 1st, about 20 students demonstrated in response to a new policy which mandates that parents must be notified if their child requests to use different pronouns or identifies as transgender; the policy requires students to use restrooms that align with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Global Matters

Andorra - Prime minister comes out as gay on public broadcast. Prime Minister Xavier Espot Zamora came out as gay in an interview with Radio and Television of Andorra. 

Iraq - LGBTQ+ Iraqis could face death penalty under new law. Parliament is considering a law which would impose the death penalty for same-sex sexual relations, a minimum of seven years in prison for promoting homosexuality, and three years for fluid gender presentation. 

Nigeria - Court releases 69 people arrested in connection with a same-sex wedding on bail. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Nigeria, and the country passed a harsh anti-LGBTQ+ law in 2014 under which the wedding attendees were arrested.

Media Matters

Activists celebrate Bisexual Awareness Week. BiPlus Organizing US will host Celebrate Bisexuality Day, Sept. 23, in D.C., with support from other LGBTQ+ organizations, including PFLAG National. Adrien Shanker, senior advisor for LGBTQI+ health equity in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, is scheduled to speak at the event. PFLAG National’s Learning & Inclusion Manager, Mackenzie Harte, is also scheduled to speak.

New poll shows majority oppose political interference in accessing gender-affirming care. A survey by the 19th News found 72 percent of Americans believe politicians do not know enough about gender-affirming health care to make accurate policies. Just 17 percent of Americans said restricting access to gender-affirming care should be a focus of politicians.

PFLAG National
(202) 467-8180 |

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