News Round-Up: May 28, 2021

Chuck Norris models 'Action Pants'
Chuck Norris models 'Action Pants'
Chuck Norris models ‘Action Pants’

Some news items you might have missed:

BrandedInThe80s: I have no idea what “action pants” are. The above image is apparently photoshopped, but Chuck Norris did reportedly front a line of stretch jeans back in the 80s.

Kenneth-in-the-212: Hit the link to check out Kenneth’s weekly round-up of the what’s what in LGBTQ publications like the latest issue of DNA Magazine featuring cover guy Airon Mallars.

Airon Mallars covers DNA Magazine (photo: Antony Kozz)

Edge Media: A new poll from Gallup shows that 66 percent of people favor allowing openly transgender people to serve in the military. However, 62 percent of Americans say trans athletes should only be allowed to play on sports teams that correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth.

The Advocate: Internet sensation and renaissance man Leslie Jordan made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry last weekend sporting a custom-made electric blue suit with fringe and hand embroidery. The appearance was in support of his gospel album Company’s Comin’. Said Jordan, “I grew up in the shadow of the Grand Ole Opry. So you know, it’s like a mecca to me. To be invited and to get to do three songs, it’s a big deal.”

OUT: In a video clip that went viral, a 13-year-old trans teen was viciously attacked in the hallway of her middle school in South Florida by a bully. Equally disturbing, other students circled around the teen laughing and kicking at her while she struggled to stand up. The school and police say they are investigating, but a week later no disciplinary action has been announced.

JoeMyGod: The last on-air liberal has left Fox News as former DNC chair Donna Brazile and Juan Williams of “The Five” have both departed the right-leaning network. The New York Times reports that “Fox News has adapted to the post-Trump era by moving in a single direction: Trumpward.”

Pink News: A furious ‘Karen’ demanded to speak to the manager of the entire airport and got the response she deserves. The woman went from “I’m a women in a dress” to “You F’off” in a nano second.

Podcast: Lil Nas X, 20th Anniversary Of Marriage Equality, And More

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

In this week’s podcast:

• President Biden issues first-ever presidential proclamation for Transgender Day of Visibility

• Arkansas has passed a series of anti-LGBTQ laws in a week

• The Pentagon erases Trump-era ban on trans military service members

• Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first legal same-sex weddings

• Lil Nas X pens a touching letter to his 14-year-old self – Link to his new music video ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report podcast.

Pentagon Announces New Policies Allowing Open Trans Military Service

The Pentagon covered by an image of the transgender pride flag
Timed to coincide with the Transgender Day of Visibility, the Pentagon has announced its reversal of Trump-era policies which effectively banned transgender Americans from serving in the military.

The Associated Press reports the new department regulations “allow transgender people who meet military standards to enlist and serve openly in their self-identified gender, and they will be able to get medically necessary transition-related care authorized by law.”

More from the AP:

The changes come after a two-month Pentagon review aimed at developing guidelines for the new policy, which was announced by President Joe Biden just days after he took office in January.

Biden’s executive order overturned the Trump policy and immediately prohibited any service member from being forced out of the military on the basis of gender identity. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin then gave the Pentagon two months to finalize the more detailed regulations that the military services will follow.

The new rules also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

A review of service members who were discharged or denied reenlistment because of gender identity issues under the previous policy has also been ordered.

Read the full report here.

UPDATE: Biden Repeals Transgender Military Ban

Joe Biden plans to reverse the ban on transgender military service members

UPDATE: President Joe Biden has signed an executive order repealing Donald Trump’s ban on transgender Americans serving in the U.S. military.

“President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity,” read a statement from the White House.

“Allowing all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform is better for the military and better for the country because an inclusive force is a more effective force,”

“Simply put, it’s the right thing to do and is in our national interest.”

In addition to reversing Trump’s ban on transgender service members, Biden’s executive order requires corrections to the record of any soldier affected by the ban.

A Gallup poll conducted in June 2019 showed 71% of Americans support allowing transgender Americans to openly serve in the military.


CBS News reports that the Biden administration is expected to repeal the ban on transgender military servicemembers as soon as Monday.

The senior Defense official told CBS News the repeal will be through executive order signed by President Joe Biden.

The announcement is expected to take place at a ceremony with newly-confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who will order the Pentagon to go back to the policy enacted in 2016 by former Defense Secretary Ash Carter that allowed transgender Americans to serve openly.

Biden mentioned his plan to reverse the trans ban often on the campaign trail.

“I truly believe, Senator, that as I said in my opening statement, that if you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve,” Secretary Austin said during his Senate confirmation hearing. “And, you can expect that I will support that throughout.”

Donald Trump instituted the transgender military ban in July 2017 as part of a deal with a group of House Republicans.

The GOPers threatened to block funding of Trump’s Mexico wall if he didn’t prohibit the U.S. military from paying for or supplying healthcare for trans service members. Trump took the request further and banned any new transgender applicants from serving.

Over 20 retired generals and admirals denounced the policy saying the ban was “a troubling move backward.”

What LGBTQ Promises Will Biden Be Able To Achieve In Early Days?

What LGBTQ campaign promises will Joe Biden be able to achieve in his first days as president?
President-elect Joe Biden

With President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration less than a week away, queer folks may wonder what LGBTQ promises he’ll be able to fulfill in the often-referenced ‘first 100 days.’

On a conference call with LGBTQ leaders prior to the holidays, Biden’s team repeated his intention to order the reversal of the transgender ban on military service on January 20, according to the Washington Blade.

The policy, initiated by President Trump via tweet in July 2017, could take up to a year to fully reverse.

But with cases of COVID-19 surging across the country and an unexpected second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, other legislative goals might take longer than previously thought.

The big ticket item for LGBTQ advocates is the passage of the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legislation would ban discrimination against LGBTQ people on a federal level.

The bill was passed during the last session of Congress in the House, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the legislation from reaching the Senate floor for a vote.

Initially, Biden hoped to have the Equality Act signed into law within 100 days of taking office. And with the Democrats in control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, passage certainly looks more promising.

But the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would be tasked with handling the legislation, is the same committee that will now have to deal with the impending Trump impeachment trial.

LGBTQ advocates told the Blade that, given the current circumstances, granting Biden some leeway would be understandable.

“I think we’ve gotten the commitments that we expected and hoped for and sought from the Biden team and from legislative leadership, and what that means for us now is holding them accountable, but also understanding that the country, our democracy, and the ability of people to actually live is going to take priority,” one LGBTQ advocate told the Blade.

Others, however, are not so easily assuaged.

“The notion that our government can only focus on one thing at a time isn’t acceptable,” said another activist. “You can’t have the agenda and policy goals that Biden does and not have the process to move faster.”

LGBTQ leaders will probably see the Equality Act brought up for a vote in at least one chamber of Congress as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had indicated she would bring the bill back to the floor during the first 100 days of the Biden administration.

Once the Senate does turn its attention to the Equality Act, another hurdle will be finding at least 10 Republican Senators to support the bill. Sixty votes are required to overcome the legislative filibuster and move to a vote.

Wrangling those votes isn’t an impossibility, but could take time. So far, the only moderate Republican senator to signal support has been Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). But she might be having second thoughts as the Human Rights Campaign pulled their support for her reelection this fall and endorsed her opponent. Collins has been reported as somewhat bitter over the breakup.

Aside from the trans military ban and the Equality Act, though, Biden will also be able to advance LGBTQ interests through executive orders.

For instance, Biden could sign an executive order directing federal agencies to fully adopt the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County. That decision found anti-LGBTQ discrimination to be a form of sex discrimination and therefore illegal under existing civil rights law.

One Democratic insider told the Blade that dozens of executive orders have already been drafted, although it’s not clear if the directive to implement the Bostock decision is among them at this point.

Other LGBTQ campaign promises expected to be addressed in the early days of the new administration include issuing a presidential memorandum prioritizing support for LGBTQ human rights in the first week.

Additionally, Biden promised “on his first day in office” to restore Obama-era guidance to the Department of Education ensuring transgender students having access to bathrooms, locker rooms and sports consistent with their gender identity.

Biden is also expected to name in a White House LGBTQ liaison to help oversee LGBTQ initiatives in the early days of the administration, and as well as a State Department envoy for international LGBTQ rights.

(source: Washington Blade)

News Round-Up: July 22, 2020

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Dan Tai (above) is giving me life wearing his sexy swim shorts from Box Menswear. Dan’s post shares some very wise somethingsomethingsomething and then asks how many other people are in the photo? #OtherPeople?

The Advocate: The past 12 months saw LGBTQ+ representation in elective office in the U.S. grow by 21 percent, with 843 known out officials as of June. The number of out officials is likely to grow even more over the next 12 months with more than 880 openly LGBTQ+ people currently running for office in 2020 — the most ever.

U.S. Military: A study by the Palm Center shows Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military service members could realistically be reversed within a 30-day period. “All the ingredients are there for a virtually instant reversal.”

• The Lincoln Project: Major props to this anti-Trump group for their latest – a totally Seinfeld-inspired campaign ad. You’ve got to give it to these folks for style.

Gaily Grind: Another day, another ‘Karen.’ A woman in Washington state walked into a pizza restaurant demanding they serve her when she refused to wear a face mask. ‘I have a right to my pizza!’ #srsly

NBC News: Two data sets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Tuesday say true COVID-19 rates are more than 10 times higher than reported cases in some U.S. regions. The estimates are based on COVID-19 antibody tests performed on routine blood samples in 16,000 people in 10 U.S. regions.

Snoop Watch: My hubby Michael got tired of waiting for our new dog to freely offer up kisses, so he bribed the Snoop with peanut butter (top photo). Hit the play button below to see the craven bribery.

 

Pentagon Ordered To Release Trans Military Ban Documents

A federal judge has ordered the Department of Defense to turn over 35,000 documents the Trump administration used in drafting its transgender military ban.

Via Stripes.com:

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ruled the Pentagon must turn over drafts, communications and documents used by Defense Department officials in shaping and justifying its 48-page policy released in February 2018 that effectively ended open service for transgender men and women.

That policy, which faces several legal challenges, went into effect in April, barring the military enlistment of nearly any person with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, the medical condition associated with individuals who do not identify with their birth sex.

Lawyers with Lamda Legal, representing transgender plaintiffs in the case of Karnoski v. Trump in U.S. district court in Seattle, sought the documents as evidence in their case, which seeks to overturn the partial ban on transgender military service on the basis that the policy was rooted in illegal discrimination.

Warren Pledges To Reverse Trump Military Trans Ban On Day One

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren has released a detailed plan on the rights of service members, veterans, and military families, which includes a pledge to reverse Donald Trump’s ban on transgender service members on day one of her presidency.

In a tweet, she wrote, “A Warren administration will protect the rights of LGBTQ+, women, Black, and Latinx service members. I’ll reverse Trump’s shameful ban on trans service members on Day One. My administration will protect veterans and family members of serving military personnel from deportation.”

“I’ll reverse it on the first day of my presidency,” says Warren in her plan, adding that “the only thing that should matter when it comes to allowing military personnel to serve is whether or not they can handle the job.”

Her plan states she would make sure trans soldiers would be provided with “all medically necessary care related to the health of transgender people” including transition-related surgery.

House Votes 242-187 To Reverse Trump Military Trans Ban

Trans airman Logan Ireland

The House of Representatives has approved amendment to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that would reverse Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military service members.

The measure, known as the ‘Harry Truman’ amendment, passed by a vote of 242-187. Ten Republicans joined the full Democratic caucus in approving the amendment.

The sponsor of the amendment, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), said, “Over the last three years, 14,000 transgender service members have served openly and successfully.”

The congresswoman also noted that “all five service chiefs affirmed they do not hamper lethality or cohesion.”

The nickname for the amendment references the 1948 executive order by President Harry Truman which desegregated the military.

The measure would require the military to consider gender-neutral occupational standards as well as military occupational specialty in weighing potential applicants.

However, such consideration “may not include any criteria relating to the race, color, national origin, religion, or sex (including gender identity or sexual orientation) of an individual.”

Additionally, the amendment calls for ensuring “equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, and sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation).”

The ban, which took effect in April, was announced in July 2017 via tweet by Donald Trump. According to multiple reports, the announcement took military leaders by surprise.

Last month, the Senate passed its own version of the defense authorization bill, which does not include the ‘Harry Truman’ amendment language.

Once the House finishes its work on the defense bill, members of both chambers will meet in conference to come to final agreement.

Don’t hold your breath on the GOP-led Senate approving the amendment without a fight.

(h/t Washington Blade)

News Round-Up: June 19, 2019

Chippendales ‘take a Tebow’

Some news items you might have missed:

• That time the men of Chippendales (above) “took a Tebow” during a photo shoot. I think I know who did it better 🙂

• A new Hill/YouGov poll shows only 24% of Americans approve of the Trump administration’s handling of LGBTQ rights.

• In 1989, with no real knowledge of the case, Donald Trump took out a full page ad calling for the execution of the five men accused in the ‘Central Park Jogger’ case where a woman was raped and assaulted.

The five men were convicted and sent to prison only to be exonerated by DNA evidence. White House reporter April Ryan asked the Trumpster if he ever felt like apologizing for demonizing the black men. The answer was predictable.

• A new study by Pew Research shows bisexual adults are less likely to come out to important people in their lives than gays or lesbians.

• In the middle of Pride month, the U.S. Senate confirmed another anti-LGBTI Trump judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, to a lifetime appointment to the federal bench in the Northern District of Texas with a 52-46 vote.

• In a 243-183 vote, the Democratic-controlled House passed an amendment to the $1 trillion Defense spending bill that prohibits Donald Trump’s transgender military ban from being funded.

• Check out the new music video from Lucy & La Mer, “Blue Dress,” about discovering one’s bisexuality and the “lightbulb” crush that begins bisexual exploration. I liked the quirky, folky, fun aesthetic.

“I wrote the song right after a first date — last year, actually — just reflecting on that initial lightbulb experience about being curious and attracted to another gender than you thought you were,” Lucy told Billboard. “I wanted it to be something that was positive and energetic, not so serious or tortured or anything like that.”