The Latest News January 2021

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Trump's Judicial Appointments Will Impact LGBTQ Rights Far Beyond Presidency

Posted On: January 19, 2021

As I have mentioned before, in addition to the Supreme Court, Donald Trump appointed a tremendous number of Federal Court Judges, which most people have not taken note of.

Nearly 40% of the Judges he has appointed have a history of hostility towards the LGBTQ community.  This is truly significant since the Federal Courts are throughout the land and in each of the states and they are the avenue which cases will have to travel to reach the Supreme Court.  Many cases therefore could be cut short by an unfriendly decision in a lower Federal Court case.

Trump's lasting impact on the Federal Judiciary could roll back and reverse much of the progress made by the LGBTQ community over decades.  Unfortunately, he has significantly altered the makeup of the Federal Judiciary, from the Lower Courts, right up to the Supreme Court.  This was also made possible by Senate Republicans and they may also create an obstacle for the new administration. 

In total, over his four years as president, Trump appointed 3 Supreme Court Judges and 230 Lower Court Judges to lifetime positions, many of which are young, white and male Jurists, who have come to the bench with a perspective that LGBTQ people are “less than”.  This had a lot to do with Trump’s administration being able to get confirmation of appointees.  The fact is, Trump has placed about 30% of the active serving Federal Appeals Court Judges.  This is freighting. 

When you think of it in numbers, the Supreme Court has roughly 100 to 150 cases annually but the 13 Federal Appeal Courts around the country hear thousands of the most consequential cases every year that shape the laws and effect the rights of millions of Americans.  This is a dangerous outcome of the current administration that many did not look closely enough at.

This article is a very good read with respect to exactly how the judiciary looks going forward and the damage that Trump may have caused.

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A Photographic History of Men in Love

Posted On: January 11, 2021

This is a lovely collection that creates a photographic history of men in love.  It is not only touching but the bravery of these men is amazing.  Notwithstanding the times in which they lived, where it was not only illegal to be gay but literarily could cost you your life simply by expressing your love and affection for your same sex partner.  I particularly love the photo of the two young men holding the sign “not married yet but willing to be” which is more than a century before marriage became legalized in the United States.  Progress has been slow and we are still in danger of discrimination and even violence.  I remember in my own internship with Lambda Legal Defense fighting Sodomy laws that were still on the books in Texas.  It's great that these pictures were found and have now been preserved in Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love, 1850s-1950s.

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Gone But Not Forgotten: 12 Trailblazing Women We Lost in 2020

Posted On: January 05, 2021

We lost so many people this past year it feels inconceivable.  I am especially sorry for the loss of these trailblazing women who opened doors, broke barriers, shattered ceilings, paved new pathways for women, and inspired so many to do more in their everyday lives.

The loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg literally made me cry.  I never had the privilege of meeting her, but she was just so amazing and inspiring and her death came at such a tragic point in our history.  Not only did her time on the Supreme Court change so much for us, but her passing and who has been placed on the bench in her stead may also have an untold impact on us for years to come.

I also feel cheated not only by the loss of these women but for some like Katherine Johnson, the mathematician for NASA 101, whom I never knew about until I saw the movie Hidden Figures.  How horrible is it that this group of black women, who made it possible for the space program to be successful and actually saved men’s lives, were never recognized or had their story told in our school’s history books for decades?  Our education system must not just tell the white man’s history (his story) but needs to embrace all people’s history, minorities of all colors as well as women’s history (her story)! 

One of the women listed here, B. Smith, was a restaurateur and a model.  I had the privilege to meet and dine on several occasions in her New York City restaurant which was absolutely amazing. 

Remember the women that stepped forward in World War II:  well, we have lost the original “Rosie the Riveter” Rosalind Walter.

I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did and I look forward to hearing about many new women who are trailblazing for the next generation!

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