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Court Matters

SCOTUS seems inclined to uphold South Carolina's redrawn Congressional maps. Although the maps were challenged in lower courts, SCOTUS heard arguments on October 10th to examine whether the maps violated the Constitution’s bar on using race as an unjustified and predominant factor in drawing districts.

11th Circuit Court rules Florida’s drag ban cannot go into effect. The October 11th ruling upheld an injunction a federal district court issued in June.

Federal Matters

President Biden releases statement marking 25th Anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death. In a statement released on October 12th, the President said “[Matthew’s] courageous parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, turned Matthew’s memory into a movement, galvanizing millions of people to combat the scourge of anti-LGBTQI+ hate and violence in America.” 

White House defends Interior Department spokesman following online attacks. Tyler Cherry, the Interior Department’s principal deputy communications director, is openly gay and has been the target of right-wing social media attacks on X, formerly Twitter, after his photos were shared widely on the site. The Biden administration called Cherry an invaluable member of the team and added “No one should be targeted simply for being themselves. It is cruel and unacceptable.”

White House Press Secretary honors National Coming Out Day. Karine Jean-Pierre, the first openly lesbian White House Press Secretary, acknowledged National Coming Out Day on October 11th, saying “This Administration stands with the LGBTQ+ community. We have your back. We are in this fight with you. And we will continue to speak up, speak out, and stand up for our rights and freedoms.”

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.

Alabama - Children’s book marked as potentially “sexually explicit” because author’s last name is Gay. Read Me a Story, Stella is a children’s picture book by Marie-Louise Gay about a pair of siblings reading books together and building a doghouse. Due to the author’s last name, the book was added to a list of potentially “sexually explicit” books to be moved from the children’s section of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library system. 

New York - Man beaten in Manhattan in apparent hate crime. Four attackers confronted and then beat a 72-year-old man on September 15th, breaking his jaw. The attackers yelled anti-LGBTQ+ slurs during the attack, which is being investigated by the New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force.

Global Matters

Mauritius - Court nullifies colonial-era anti-LGBTQ+ law. The Supreme Court of Mauritius ruled that a law criminalizing same-sex sexual acts was unconstitutional on October 4th. The decision was celebrated by LGBTQ+ rights groups and UNAids, the United Nations agency in charge of combating HIV/AIDS, saying it would save lives. 

United Kingdom - Prime Minister Rishi Sunak makes transphobic remarks at Conference. On October 4th, the Prime Minister claimed the British public was being “bullied” into believing that “people can be any sex they want to be,” adding “a man is a man, and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense.” The Prime Minister has refused to apologize for the remarks, and said he stood by them when interviewed on October 5th.

Media Matters

Organizers look back on the first National Coming Out Day. In 1988, at the height of the AIDS crisis, LGBTQ+ activists led by Jean O’Leary and the late Robert Eichberg organized the first National Coming Out Day, on the anniversary of 1987’s National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

Residents of Laramie, Wyoming reflect on progress towards LGBTQ+ acceptance since Matthew Shepard’s murder. Laramie Pridefest and other organizations are planning a week of memorial events beginning on October 8th to mark the 25th Anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death.

At least two openly trans contestants to compete in Miss Universe pageant. Marina Machete, who currently holds the title of Miss Portugal, and Rikkie Valerie Kolle, currently Miss Netherlands, will both compete for the title of Miss Universe starting November 18th.

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