Court Matters

Federal judge rules Georgia’s Congressional and state legislative maps must be redrawn. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones found the state drew its Congressional and state legislative maps in a way that illegally dilutes the voting power of Black Georgians. He ordered the state to draw several new Black-majority state legislative districts and one new Black-majority Congressional district by December 8th.

Federal Matters

First Lady speaks out against book bans at PFLAG’s National convention. Dr. Jill Biden condemned anti-LGBTQ+ book bans and discussed the potential for small acts to spark transformative social change for the opening plenary session of Learning with Love: The 2023 PFLAG National Convention.. The First Lady also underscored the Administration’s commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights.

PFLAG supporters get mixed reception at their legislators’ offices at PFLAG National’s Lobby Day. Participants in PFLAG National’s Lobby Day on Oct. 19th met with Congressional offices Members and staff representing their states. Aides for U.S. Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) treated constituents visiting their offices disrespectfully, with an aide in Scott’s office openly smirking  while a constituent and PFLAG mom recounted how her son once contemplated suicide because he was bullied so extensively after coming out as gay in fourth grade. By contrast, staff for other members, including other Republicans were positive, affirming and respectful.

Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson elected Speaker of the House. Speaker Johnson’s election allows the House to resume business after the Speaker’s office was unprecedentedly vacant for three weeks following previous Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ouster. PFLAG National CEO Brian Bond is quoted in the article.

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.

Florida - Palm Beach County School Board votes to recognize October as LGBTQ+ History Month. The resolution passed unanimously on October 17th after most members of the public in attendance spoke in favor of its passage. 

Georgia - State agrees to cover gender-affirming care for state employees. Georgia settled a lawsuit brought by the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) on behalf of three state employees who were denied coverage for treatments for themselves or their dependents. TLDEF challenged an exclusion in the Georgia State Health Benefit Plan that denied coverage for transition-related treatments, and, on October 19th, the state settled the suit.

Pennsylvania - Philadelphia Mayor signs executive order protecting medically necessary gender-affirming care. Mayor Jim Kinney signed Executive Order 4-23 on October 17th, which bans the city government from providing information or assistance to any investigation that may try to penalize anyone receiving or providing gender-affirming care in the city of Philadelphia.

Tennessee - Court ruling allows Murfreesboro Pride festival to go forward. A federal judge blocked a local “decency ordinance”, allowing organizers of a Pride festival in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to move forward with their plans to carry out the event. The ordinance, which was approved in June, prohibits people in public spaces from engaging in “indecent behavior,” displaying “indecent material,” or subjecting minors to behaviors, material, or events that are “patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors.”

Texas - Supreme Court considers whether Waco Justice of the Peace should remain sanctioned for refusing to marry same-sex couples. In 2019, the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct gave Judge Dianne Hensley a public warning for refusing to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies on religious grounds. Hensley filed a lawsuit alleging that the judicial commission violated her rights under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on October 25th.

Global Matters

Canada - Saskatchewan passes forced outing bill. The bill requires parental consent for a student under age 16 to use a new “gender-related” name or gender identity at school. 

China - Hong Kong court rules same-sex couples have equal inheritance rights. The court dismissed a government attempt to deny same-sex married couples' inheritance rights, saying denying such rights is "an unacceptably harsh burden". Same-sex marriage is not legal in Hong Kong, but some couples travel abroad to get married. 

India - Supreme Court declines to legalize same-sex marriages. India’s top court unanimously ruled on October 17th that it could not grant LGBTQ+ people the right to marry because that is a legislative function; however, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud also urged the government to uphold the rights of the queer community and end discrimination against them in his ruling.

Japan - Supreme Court rules law requiring gender confirmation surgery before acquiring official gender change documents is unconstitutional. The law, which dated back to 2003, was ruled unconstitutional by the 15-judge Supreme Court on October 25th. 

United Kingdom - Prime Minister Sunak to move ahead with proposal to ban so-called “conversion therapy.” A draft bill banning the practice would be included in the King’s speech for State Opening of Parliament.

Media Matters

PFLAGers mourn the loss of PFLAG National President Emerita Nancy McDonald. In a statement, PFLAG National Board Chair Susan Thronson said, “As the first organization to name lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people together in its mission, PFLAG, under Nancy’s leadership, ensured that every LGBTQ+ person and loved one would find inclusive support, education and advocacy…as the parent of a transgender person, I am personally grateful for Nancy’s work.”

PFLAG National CEO Brian Bond discusses Learning with Love: The 2023 PFLAG National Convention. In an interview with Metro Weekly, Bond said “There is something wonderful about bringing together so many people who are working to create a caring, just, and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them — especially in this moment.” 

PFLAG Great Lakes Bay Region receives National Chapter Award. The chapter, which is based in the Saginaw area of Michigan, was honored with the award during PFLAG National’s Learning with Love: The 2023 PFLAG National Convention. This year, the chapter formalized partnerships with 16 local services such as counseling agencies, colleges and universities, hospitals, shelters, and more.

National Hockey League (NHL) reverses ban on Pride-themed stick tape. The NHL reversed the two-week-old ban on October 24th, following a backlash. Arizona Coyotes player Travis Dermott ignored the ban over the weekend and used Pride Tape on the top part of his stick during a 21 October game. He said "the league's taking away our voice". with the ban.

Che Flores comes out at NBA’s first openly non-binary and transgender referee. Flores, a second-year staff referee for the National Basketball Association, came out in an interview with GQ as the league’s first openly nonbinary and transgender referee.

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