Court Matters

Rita Lin confirmed as U.S. District Court judge, making her the first Chinese-American woman to serve as a U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of California. On September 19th, the Senate confirmed (voting 52-45) Rita Lin; she was co-counsel in the case ruling in 2012 the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional in a U.S. District Court.

Federal judge rules Texas drag ban unconstitutional. On September 26th, U.S. District Judge David Hittner invalidated Senate Bill 12, ruling that it infringed upon Texans’ free speech rights and was unconstitutionally overbroad and vague.

Federal Matters

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) dies at age 90. Sen. Feinstein, the longest-serving female Senator in history, the longest-serving Senator from California, and the first elected female mayor of San Francisco, died at age 90 on September 28th in her home in Washington, DC.

House Members call for removal of anti-LGBTQ+ provisions in the NDAA. Over 152 House Democrats signed onto a letter addressed to the House and Senate Armed Service Committees, written by Reps. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7) and Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Congressional Equality Caucus Vice Chairs and Co-Chairs of the Transgender Equality Task Force; the letter requests the removal of provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that target LGBTQ+ rights.

Bicameral inclusive bill protecting anti-harassment at colleges introduced. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-2), Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, introduced the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act on September 22nd. The bill would require federally funded colleges to protect students from harassment based on gender identity, sexual orientation, sex stereotyping, and variations in sex characteristics to include intersex traits. Colleges would also be required to distribute their anti-harassment policy, and recognize cyberbullying as harassment.

State Matters

Self-care note: While some of the following stories celebrate and affirm LGBTQ+ people, many cover legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community, particularly trans and nonbinary 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 constraints; feel free to forward news about your state to to consider for inclusion.

Some providers are halting gender-affirming care for minors, even where it remains legal. In some states like Missouri and North Dakota, where bans on medically necessary gender-affirming care for trans and nonbinary youth have become law, certain medical facilities have stopped providing gender-affirming care altogether despite provisions that allow minors to continue care if they had already been receiving treatment before the ban is effective.

California - Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes bill requiring custody courts to weigh affirmation of gender identity. The bill would have required judges to consider gender affirmation when making custody decisions. The governor said in his veto message that he was concerned that “Other-minded elected officials, in California and other states, could very well use this strategy to diminish the civil rights of vulnerable communities.”

Governor Gavin Newsom signs trio of bills supporting LGBTQ+ youth. The bills require LGBTQ+ competency training for public school teachers and staff, establish a task force to identify needs for LGBTQ+ students, and require state courts to keep petitions to change the gender marker on state documents confidential.

Missouri - Missouri State University will reopen its LGBTQ+ resource center after student protests. The administration of Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) closed the resource center the week of September 10th, citing insufficient staffing and low usage by students. Students protested the closing, saying the resource center was critical for many, and the administration listened, announcing the center would remain open.

Montana - State District Court blocks Montana’s ban on medically necessary gender-affirming care. On August 27th, District Court Judge Jason Marks blocked SB99 from taking effect. The bill would have banned medically necessary gender-affirming care for trans and nonbinary youth, but the judge ruled that SB99 was likely unconstitutional and its implementation would have caused harm to trans and nonbinary youth in the state.

Virginia - School Board delays vote on adopting anti-transgender model policies. The Virginia Beach School Board postponed its vote to adopt the Virginia Department of Education's 2023 model policy, which requires students to use their assigned sex for bathrooms and school activities and mandates parents to give consent for students to request changing names or pronouns. The model policy will be considered again on October 10th.

Global Matters

Greece - A Greek-American businessman becomes first openly gay person elected to lead a political party. Stefanos Kasselakis, a Greek-American, won over 56% of the votes to lead the leftist Syriza party and aims to be Greece's first openly gay Prime Minister.

India - Same-sex marriage performed in Punjab while nationwide legalization debate continues. A same-sex couple recently married in Bathinda, Punjab, India with blessings from their families. The marriage was solemnized in a Sikh temple, despite Sikh religious leaders opposing same-sex marriage.

Media Matters

Donatella Versace speaks against the Italian government’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies. LGBTQ+ rights groups in Italy have praised Donatella Versace for speaking out against the government’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies in remarks while accepting a fashion award.

Legislation seeks to repeal the Navajo Nation’s ban on same-sex marriagesNavajo Nation Council Delegate Seth Damon has introduced legislation to repeal parts of the Diné Marriage Act of 2005, which bans same-sex unions. While tribal members can get marriage licenses in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, those marriages are not recognized by the tribe, meaning that Navajo tribal members in same-sex relationships do not receive equal benefits, including health benefits for their partners.


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