Podcast: The Best Of LGBTQ Music, Movies & Pop Culture

What? You thought I wasn’t going to count down and recap the year that was 2018?

Fat chance.

Here’s my take on the best that the year had to offer in terms of LGBTQ music, movies, television and pop culture moments, as well as the stories that resonated most with my readers.

Please kick back, pour a cocktail, and take a little journey on the way back machine as I review 2018 in terms of the LGBTQ community.

And, as always, I would muchly appreciate it if you would share The Randy Report podcast with your friends.

So, here we go. Let me know in the comments what you thought I might have missed.

See you all in 2019! Thanks to all of you for visiting The Randy Report. It totally wouldn’t be any fun without you here.

My Recap Of The 2018 Midterm Elections – Who Won? Who Made History?

With the 2018 midterm elections in the rearview mirror – and the 2020 election cycle set to begin at any moment – here’s my big recap of what happened last night and how it will affect LGBTQ Americans going forward.

While a “blue wave” was anticipated, to different degrees, over the past few months, we’re more inclined to describe last night’s elections as a “blue splash,” as there was a big shift for the country and several important ‘ripples’ that followed.

First up, and most important for the entire country, Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives.

At this writing, according to The New York Times, Democrats flipped 27 seats (more than the necessary 23) to blue and there are still several contests looking good for Dems that haven’t been called.

What this means is, for the first time, a lever of Congress will be holding Trump and Republicans accountable.

All committee chair positions will be assumed by Democrats including the Ways and Means Committee (which determines spending for the House), the House Oversight Committee (expect subpoenas to be issued and investigations to be launched) and more.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi is expected to return as Speaker of the House, and she’s already announced The Equality Act, which would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 giving LGBTQ people federal protection from discrimination in terms of employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. 

While no one expects the legislation to pass with a Republican-controlled Senate and White House, Democrats will certainly give the bill energy and momentum so it could be signed by a pro-LGBTQ president, hopefully after 2020.

Even more important perhaps, though, is oversight of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBT policies including “religious freedom” laws, the transgender military ban, and efforts to define laws against sex discrimination to exclude LGBT people.

A huge win for LGBTQ folks last night was Jared Polis’ win in Colorado as the first openly gay man to be elected governor of a state.

Also, Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon clinched her bid for reelection. She became the nation’s first openly bisexual governor in 2015.

Unfortunately, transgender Vermonter Christine Hallquist and Texas’ openly lesbian Lupe Valdez lost their races for the governorship.

Joshua Tenorio became Guam’s Lt. Governor making him the first openly gay elected to territory-wide office. Guam also elected its first female governor, Lou Leon Guerrero.

Governorships are extremely important because they can set the policies and agenda for states in opposition to the White House. And, governors will oversee the 10-year redistricting efforts to come in 2020 after the census. That will allow a course correction from the gerrymandering Republicans enacted in 2010 which helped to hamper Democratic efforts in the years since.

Also, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Maine, Kansas, Nevada and New Mexico flipped their governorships to Democrat which will have a huge impact on the 2020 elections.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the only openly lesbian in the Senate, coasted to reelection.

Sharice Davids becomes the first gay Native American elected to Congress winning Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District.

A post shared by Sharice For Congress (@shariceforcongress) on Nov 7, 2018 at 12:19am PST

Angie Craig beat Republican Jason Lewis to become the first openly LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Minnesota, and the first LGBTQ mother in Congress.

New York’s 18th Congressional District reelected gay father of three Sean Patrick Maloney to his fourth term in the House.

With his victory over Republican Eddie Edwards, Chris Pappas becomes the first openly gay member of Congress from New Hampshire.

Openly bisexual Katie Hill currently leads by 2.5% in her California race to unseat anti-LGBTQ Republican Steve Knight in the 25th District.

Openly gay Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin easily won his reelection bid, as did David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Mark Takano of California.

J.D. Ford unseated one of Indiana’s most conservative state senators becoming the Hoosier state’s first out state legislator.

Pennsylvania elected Malcolm Kenyatta to its state House becoming the first out gay black man to be elected to the PA legislature. Read more about his win here.

Also in Pennsylvania, woofy Brian Sims easily won reelection to the state House. Go Team Bear!

Gay former Marine Neil Rafferty won his bid to the Alabama state House where he’ll replace retiring Patricia Todd, the state’s first openly gay legislator.

Maryland State Delegate Mary Washington makes history as the first openly LGBTQ person of color to be elected to the Maryland Senate.

Also in Maryland, Gabriel Acevero is the first openly gay black man elected to the Maryland Assembly.

Jennifer Webb becomes the first openly LGBTQ woman to be elected to the Florida legislature.

Two transgender women, Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker, were elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. They join Virginia state Delegate Danica Roem as the only openly transgender members of any state legislature.

Massachusetts sent a strong message of support to the transgender community as Proposition 3, asking if Bay Staters wanted to keep protections for trans people in place, sailed to victory with over 68%.

Florida voters passed Amendment 4 which will restore voting rights to felons (other than for murder or rape) who have served their time in prison and paid their debt to society.

And there were wins for prominent LGBTQ allies as well.

Zach Wahls, who famously defended his two moms speaking to Iowa lawmakers about same-sex marriage in 2011, will now become part of that very body after winning his contest to Iowa’s state Senate.

Nevada elected pro-LGBTQ Jacky Rosen to the U.S. Senate, the one Senate pickup for the Dems last night.

Also of note, Kim Davis, the infamous Kentucky County Clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, lost her reelection bid.

There were some heartbreaking losses last night as well.

Andrew Gillum of Florida and Beto O’Rourke in Texas lost their high profile bids to win seats in the U.S. Senate.

In addition, losses in Missouri and North Dakota mean the Republicans expand their majority in the Senate by two.

(h/t The New York Times)

Today Is 2018’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOTB)

Around the world, millions of people in more than 130 countries will observe today as the 2018 International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB).

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender people and all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.

Even as millions of LGBTQ people around the world are standing up for visibility and fighting for their rights, many live in fear and isolation.

In most countries, LGBTQ people continue to lack fundamental rights and protections, and are at risk of discrimination and violence. In as many as 10 countries, the act of being LGBTQ is punishable by death.

And transgender people face an epidemic of violence and murder on a daily basis, including here in the U.S.

IDAHOTB is not one centralized campaign; rather it is a moment that everyone can take advantage of to take action.

Here are some facts and figures the Human Rights Campaign is monitoring around the world:

• Marriage equality is now legal in 25 countries

72 countries currently criminalize same-sex relationships, and in up to 10 countries, same-sex relationships may be punishable by death

• More than 2,600 murders of transgender people were recorded between 2008 and 2017, according to data from the Trans Murder Monitoring project

• A disturbing trend is emerging across the globe as governments in Lithuania, Nigeria and Russia are silencing equality advocates and organizations with so-called “anti-propaganda” laws

The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

It’s worth noting that President Obama issued a statement regarding IDAHOTB each year of his administration.

Donald Trump’s White House? Not a peep – which has become standard operating procedure for the Trump/Pence administration when it comes to LGBTQs.

“While the global LGBTQ community is filled with innovative advocates advancing equality, the Trump-Pence administration has failed to stand up in support of LGBTQ people around the world — from Chechnya to Egypt and far too many other places,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC’s global department. “This International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, it is imperative that world leaders commit to stepping up and doing more to protect the human rights of all people.”

GOP Congressman Darrell Issa Will Not Run For Re-Election

GOP Rep. Darrell Issa

California Rep. Darrell Issa (R) has announced he will NOT run for re-election in 2018 delivering a blow to Republican efforts to retain control of the House of Representatives.

Issa, one of the wealthiest Congressmen in Washington, D.C., made the announcement this morning.

“While my service to California’s 49th District will be coming to an end, I will continue advocating on behalf of the causes that are most important to me, advancing public policy where I believe I can make a true and lasting difference, and continuing the fight to make our incredible nation an even better place to call home,” Issa said in the statement.

Issa was re-elected in 2016 with only 51% of the vote, and Hillary Clinton won his district in the presidential race by 7 points. This is a surprise possibility for Democrats to pick up in the 2018 mid-terms.

His announcement makes him the 31st Republican to not seek reelection in the Trump era. Democrats only need to pick up 24 seats to take control of the House.

Hillary Clinton won in 23 GOP districts.