The PFLAG National office will be closed on Thursday, November 23rd and Friday, November 24th. As such, there will be no Policy Matters email next week. From all of us at PFLAG National, we are grateful for your time and commitment to our shared mission and vision.

Court Matters

Supreme Court denies Florida’s request to enforce anti-drag law. In a 6-3 decision released on November 16th, the Supreme Court justices declined to remove an injunction barring enforcement of the law while appeals are carried out in the lower courts.

Supreme Court releases code of conduct for Justices. The adoption of the new ethics guidelines follows scrutiny over gifts some Justices have received from wealthy donors, among other concerns. The 14-page document includes guidance on issues such as when Justices should recuse themselves and what kind of outside activities they can engage in, although no enforcement mechanism was included in the new code, leading some to criticize the code of conduct as insufficient.

President Biden names openly LGBTQ+ nominee for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Nicole Berner currently serves as general counsel for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). If confirmed, Ms. Berner would be the first openly-LGBTQ+ judge to serve on the Fourth Circuit Court. 

President Biden nominates Adeel A. Mangi to serve on Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Mangi formerly served as a board member on both the Muslim Bar Association of New York and as an ally board member of the National LGBTQ Bar Association. If confirmed, Mr. Mangi would be the first Muslim ever to serve on a federal appeals court.

Federal Matters

Congress passes short-term funding bill to avoid government shutdown. The bill passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support. The short-term funding deal gives some federal departments money through January 19th, while other departments are funded through February 2nd.

Biden Administration announces women’s health initiative. The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research will be led by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and the White House Gender Policy Council, with the goal of improving how the federal government approaches and funds research into women’s health.

Trans Justice Rally held at U.S. Capitol. The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, the ACLU, and other organizations organized the rally, held on November 15th, to oppose attempts to ban medically necessary gender-affirming care at the federal level. Speakers included PFLAG National’s own Diego M. Sanchez, APR.

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.

California - Nine veterans inducted into LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor. The wall is located inside the San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest and honors veterans who served in all branches of the military before, during and after “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” 

Pennsylvania - Rue Landau elected as first ever openly LGBTQ+ member of Philadelphia City Council. Landau, who is a lesbian, said, “Without a doubt, I am the first and I absolutely will not be the last,” at her victory celebration. 

Tennessee - Murfreesboro City Council discusses removing all LGBTQ+-related material from public library. City councilors are citing a June ordinance banning “indecent behavior” and “indecent materials'' to justify removing LGBTQ+ books from the shelves. “Indecent” is defined in the city code as “sexual conduct” including “homosexuality;” the city previously tried to use the ordinance to ban a Pride celebration but a federal judge ruled that “BoroPride” must be allowed to proceed, which it did on October 28th. 

Texas - Sherman High School reverses course - allows trans student to keep role in school musical. On November 13th, The Sherman school board directed Sherman High School leadership to allow the production of "Oklahoma!" to proceed as planned before the school principal stripped trans student Max Hightower of his role. The board also insisted the original script — and not a "youth" version — be used, ensuring Hightower will have a solo. 

More women join lawsuit challenging state’s abortion ban. Seven women joined the ongoing lawsuit on November 14th, bringing the total number of plaintiffs in the case to 22 in the case to be heard by the Texas Supreme Court on November 28th; all plaintiffs argue the State of Texas denied them abortion care during their medically complex pregnancies, including several women whose fetuses would not survive after birth.

Global Matters

Austria - Government establishes fund to compensate gay people who faced prosecution. Some discriminatory laws targeting the gay community remained in force in Austria until the 2000s. Justice Minister Alma Zadić estimated 11,000 people were eligible for compensation, with a total of €33 million allotted for payout.

China - Gay Games close in Hong Kong. Over 2,300 people participated in the week-long event, which included dragon boat racing and mahjong.  

Mexico - Country's first ever openly non-binary magistrate found dead. Jesús Ociel Baena was sworn in as a magistrate on the Aguascalientes state electoral tribunal in October of 2022. They were celebrated across Latin America for their work to advance the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Baena’s body was found in their home along with the body of their partner. Authorities have not determined a cause of death.

Vatican City - Pope Francis fires East Texas Bishop. The Pope removed Bishop Joseph Strickland as head of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas on November 11th. Bishop Strickland had publicly criticized the Pope for his statement that trans people could be baptized and for holding a synod on the future of women and LGBTQ+ people in the Church.

Media Matters


Kelly Clarkson Show features PFLAG dad, Jeff Walker, and daughter, Harleigh, for a PFLAG-inspired episode centering the stories of transgender people. The PFLAG-inspired episode, which aired on November 15th, had Jeff and Harleigh Walker of PFLAG Auburn (Ala.) as guests, along with Laverne Cox, Trace Lysette, and Patricia Clarkson. If you missed it yesterday, watch #LoveTakeActionin selected clips from the episode.

Marlon Wayans discusses trans child on “The Breakfast Club” radio show. The actor and comedian said that while the early stages of his child’s transition was “very painful,” he is proud of his trans son and loves him unconditionally.  

Pink to give away 2,000 banned books during Florida concerts. The pop singer is partnering with PEN America to give fans who attend the Miami and Sunrise, Florida, stops of the singer-songwriter’s “Trustfall Tour” a copy of some of the books that have appeared on PEN America’s Index of Banned Books.

Openly gay former hockey player to tour Canada to combat homophobia in the sport. Brock McGillis announced he would visit 100 Canadian high school hockey teams on a “Culture Shift Tour” to talk about how to ensure everyone on a team can be their authentic selves. 

LGBTQ+ activist Amber Hollibaugh dies at 77. Hollibaugh was a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights over the last five decades, and was active in a number of LGBTQ+ organizations, including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Gay Men’s Health Project and the group Queers for Economic Justice, which she co-founded.


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