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Last week in LGBTQ+ news: Most LGBTQ+ adults feel threatened by gender-affirming care bans

A California store owner was allegedly killed for hanging her pride flag, more school districts are exploring anti-trans policies, and a Texas university’s LGBTQ+ resource center prepares for the state’s ban on diversity offices.

By Will Fritz - August 21, 2023
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Protect Trans Kids
Protesters of Kentucky Senate bill SB150, known as the Transgender Health Bill, cheer on speakers during a rally on the lawn of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Wednesday, March 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

This series is a weekly roundup of LGBTQ-related news, covering various laws and bans, as well as efforts to push back against them.

A majority of LGBTQ+ adults feel threatened by bans on gender-affirming care

A majority of LGBTQ+ adults say bans on gender-affirming care make them feel less safe, according to a new poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the market research firm Community Marketing & Insights.

In CMI’s 17th Annual LGBTQ+ Community Survey, which polled 14,000 LGBTQ+ adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia during spring and summer 2023, 94% of transgender and nonbinary adults said they feel their safety, and that of the wider LGBTQ+ community, is threatened by state laws that ban gender-affirming care. A total of 79.1% of all LGBTQ+ adults said they felt the same.

Similarly, 80.5% of LGBTQ+ adults said they believe bans on gender-affirming care discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.

“The results are striking, revealing that gender-affirming care bans don’t just hurt transgender and non-binary young people,” the Human Rights Campaign Foundation said in its report summarizing the results of the poll. “Instead, these bans are impacting the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ adults, and are driving people and families to make difficult choices over where to live, work, travel, and spend.”

By the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s estimation, nearly 97,000 trans youth between the ages of 12-17, one-third of the nation’s trans youth in that age range, live in one of the 21 states that have passed bans on gender-affirming care for minors.

A store owner was shot and killed over a pride flag, authorities say

A business owner in San Bernardino County, California, is believed to have been shot over a pride flag displayed at her store.

Los Angeles TV station KTLA reported that on Aug. 18 sheriff’s deputies found a woman who had been shot outside Mag Pi, a clothing store in the community of Cedar Glen.

The woman, Laura Ann Carleton, was pronounced dead at the scene. According to KTLA, a search ensued for a man who fled the scene on foot. Deputies searched for a man who had fled the scene on foot, eventually finding him and shooting him during a confrontation.

The suspect, who was armed with a handgun, did not survive the shooting. According to a press release issued by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, he had allegedly made “several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton,” though the incident remains under investigation.

More California school districts consider ‘parental notification’ policies to out trans students

Policies that require that transgender students be outed to their parents appear likely to spread to more Southern California schools.

The Chino Valley Unified School District enacted a policy on July 20 that requires principals, staff and counselors to report to parents within three days of their child asking to be referred to by a name or gender different from the one listed on legal documents.

In the weeks since, at least three other Southern California school districts have moved to adopt or consider similar policies.

The board of the Murrieta Valley Unified School District, about 50 miles south of Chino, voted 3-2 on Aug. 10 to enact its own parental notification policy.

The board of the Orange Unified School District in nearby Orange County held a discussion about a parental notification policy during its Aug. 17 meeting but didn’t hold a vote.

Finally, the board of the Temecula Valley Unified School District, just south of Murrieta, is planning to vote on a parental notification policy at its Aug. 22 meeting. The Temecula district has made headlines in recent months for its board’s fight with California Gov. Gavin Newsom over its initial refusal to adopt a social studies curriculum that mentions slain LGBTQ+ civil rights leader Harvey Milk.

These Southern California school districts’ actions are not happening in a vacuum. Their parental notification policies are largely similar to Virginia’s new trans student model policies, which require schools to get parental permission for staff to affirm a student’s gender or name. Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law includes parental notification requirements that the Trevor Project told NPR last year could require teachers to out students.

Students at the University of Houston prepare for possible closure of LGBTQ+ center

The LGBTQ+ community at the public University of Houston is getting ready for major changes to the school’s LGBTQ Resource Center in light of state legislation set to go into effect next year.

Texas Senate Bill 17, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, requires state-funded colleges and universities to shut down diversity, equity and inclusion offices starting at the beginning of 2024.

According to reporting by nonprofit news site Houston Landing, a notice posted on the door of the LGBTQ Resource Center on Aug. 7 said it had been “disbanded.”

The university later stated the notice was posted “prematurely” and “without the full consultation and communication process.” The resource center and a separate Center for Diversity and Inclusion were still up and running as of Aug. 17, but a university spokesperson told the Houston Landing that compliance with S.B. 17 will require unspecified changes to university policy that will affect both centers. An implementation plan is set to be presented to the University of Houston’s board of regents later in August.

“I’m telling people to double down,” Maria Gonzalez, an English professor who helped establish the university’s LGBTQ Resource Center, told the Houston Landing. “All the programs on this campus have to realize that they can’t depend on the LGBT resource center to do anything anymore because it doesn’t exist. So it’s their job to take care of their LGBT students now. Now it’s everybody’s job.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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