Cory Booker is a politician, currently serving as the junior United States Senator from New Jersey.
He is the first African-American US Senator from New Jersey and is famous for his fierce defence of LGBTQ+ rights. He even conducted New Jersey’s first same-sex marriage ceremonies while he was Mayor of Newark, and has taken down Twitter trolls speculating about his own sexuality .
A summary of Booker’s voting record shows he supports LGBTQ+ rights 100 percent of the time. For example, voting to treat same-sex spouses the same as opposite-sex spouses with regard to veteran’s benefits, to protect LGBTQ+ victims of domestic violence, and various policies on the protections of LGBTQ+ youth.
In April 2018 anti-LGBTQ+ activists launched a smear campaign against him , after he challenged a Trump nominee – former GOP Congressman Mike Pompeo – over his anti-LGBTQ+ views . (Getty) Trump nominated Pompeo to the State Department, where he would control any future work on global LGBT rights.
Citing Pompeo’s past record during a Senate committee, Booker asked: “You made a speech warning [against] an America that endorses a perversion and calls it an alternative lifestyle. Those are your words. Is being gay a perversion?”
Pompeo responded by saying that he stood by his “very clear view” on whether it was “appropriate” for two same-sex persons to marry, avoiding Booker’s wider question referring to gay rights, not specifically same-sex marriage.
Following this exchange, anti-LGBTQ+ activists launched a smear campaign against Booker, branding him an “anti-Christian bigot” and suggesting that he wants to ban the Bible.
This is not a first for Booker: he has repeatedly taken Trump nominees to task in the Senate over their records on LGBTQ+ rights.
In 2017, for example, he came to blows with Jeff Sessions , who holds a 0 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard on LGBT rights . (Getty) As he prepared to testify against Sessions’ confirmation as the President’s attorney general, Booker said: “I do not take lightly the decision to testify against a Senate colleague, but the immense powers of the attorney general combined with the deeply troubling views of this nominee is a call to conscience.
“Senator Sessions’ decades-long record is concerning in a number of ways, from his opposition to bipartisan criminal justice reform to his views on bipartisan drug policy reform, from his efforts earlier in his career to deny citizens voting rights to his criticism of the Voting Rights Act, from his failure to defend the civil rights of women, minorities, and LGBT Americans to his opposition to commonsense, bipartisan immigration reform.”
Sessions has fought vocally against equal marriage and discrimination protections for LGBT people, and opposed lifting the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.
Booker has also responded with humour and balance when questioned on his own private life: he has said that he “loves” the fact that people aren’t sure about his sexuality . He told the Washington Post in 2013 : “People who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. (Getty) “I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’”
And there has been plenty of speculation about his sexuality on Twitter. In 2016 Booker shared a Dr Seuss poem on the social media platform, writing: “Happy National Coming Out Day! #LoveIsLove”.
One Twitter troll took the pro-LGBTQ+ message as ‘evidence’ that Booker is secretly gay .
They wrote: “Is @CoryBooker a closet Homosexual HAS NO WIFE, NO GIRLFRIEND, Very very Pro LGBT.”
The user then ran a poll asking if Booker “has sugar in his tank” or “just doesn’t like women”.
Despite the tone of the trolling, Booker had a great response. He wrote: “Whatever my sexual orientation, know I love you. I hope u are OK with that. May we both elevate more than denigrate.”
When the Senator conducted New Jersey’s first same-sex marriage ceremonies – during his post as Mayor of Newark – he told the couples:
“Tonight we have crossed a barrier. While you all have fallen into love, the truth is the state of New Jersey has risen to love.” More:
Deadpool Deadpool 2 is getting a lot of praise for finally bringing LGBT superheros on the big screen.
The superhero sequel, which is out this week, brings back moody teenage mutant Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), and introduces her girlfriend, the badass mutant Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna).
The inclusion of queer superheroes in the film, even in a supporting role, has earned praise from fans and LGBT activists – who have long criticised DC and Marvel for perceived ‘straightwashing’ of characters in blockbuster films.
Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO, said: “20th Century Fox and Marvel have finally given countless moviegoers around the world what they’ve longed to see- LGBTQ superheroes in a relationship who protect the world together.
“Negasonic and Yukio’s storyline is a milestone in a genre that too often renders LGBTQ people invisible, and should send a message to other studios to follow this example of inclusive and smart storytelling.” Fans also rushed to praise the film. One wrote: “If anyone could do it, I knew it would be Deadpool <3.”
Others expressed joy at finally seeing themselves represented in the genre. The two characters hold hands on-screen and explicitly confirm that they are dating, and Deadpool himself remarks that they’re a cute couple.
The pair don’t have the most prominent role in the plot, but their existence alone is enough to break a barrier. Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, meanwhile, has thus far failed to portray a single explicitly LGBT character across any of its 19 big-screen releases.
It is likely that Deadpool , which is already banned in many overseas conservative markets due to its violent and sexual content, had less reason to worry about abiding by international censorship standards.
Reynolds previously confirmed as much, saying of his own character’s sexuality: “That’s not really a problem for us, because we were banned in China. We were rated ‘f**k you!’ in China.
“I think [Deadpool’s sexual interest in men] could be played up more. He’s an outsider in every way, shape, and form.” Deadpool was denied a release by China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), citing graphic violence, nudity, and bad language.
By contrast, the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – which rely on wide releases and global family audiences for success – routinely face accusations of ‘straightwashing’ characters who are depicted as LGBT in source materials.
Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther are among the Marvel films that have come under fire for removing references to the sexuality of queer characters.
Ryan Reynolds previously said that the only barrier to a same-sex romance for Deadpool in the sequel would be the character’s love for his current girlfriend.
He said: “The only thing that you have to consider going forward is, ‘Are we being faithful to the canon that we nurtured and created?’
“One of those things is that Deadpool is in love with Vanessa. Deadpool isn’t in love with Vanessa just because she’s a woman.
“He’s in love with Vanessa because he loves her.” Tim Miller and Reynolds have described their version of the character as pansexual. Deadpool 2 also introduces the superhero Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), who is bisexual in the comics, but his sexuality was not explored on screen. Screenwriter Rhett Reese added: “Most comic book heroes have been heterosexual or homosexual. We find that interesting and groundbreaking. I hope it can evolve into something a little more.”
Brianna Hildebrand, who plays Negasonic, is also out in real life.
The star filmed an It Gets Better video in 2016, explaining: “I knew from pretty early on that I liked both boys and girls.
“Growing up in a fairly religious household I knew not everyone would be as comfortable with who I was as who I was, and it wasn’t until middle school that I realised how many people would feel the need to put a label on me, and throughout high school I really struggled with that. I didn’t know which group I belonged to.”
She added that “the idea of putting a bisexual, lesbian or pansexual label on myself [feels] extremely limiting.”
Hildebrand previously starred in 2016’s First Girl I Loved , which portrayed the story of two teenage girls wrestling with their sexuality and attraction to each other.
Speaking at the time she said: “I could not tell you how rewarding it feels to be a part of a movie that feels so close to home for me, and personal, and really tells my story. It’s a really amazing feeling.” More:
(KYLE GRILLOT/AFP/Getty and iamcardib/twitter) Cardi B has revealed that she’s had multiple same-sex encounters.
The singer made the revelation while defending “Girls,” a song with Rita Ora, Charli XCX and Bebe Rexha which has received a backlash from LGBT musicians.
The song , which Ora has said is “definitely” a bisexual anthem, was torn apart by Kehlani and Hayley Kiyoko , who called it “downright tone-deaf.” (Frazer Harrison/Getty) In response, Cardi wrote on Twitter: “We never try to cause harm or had bad intentions with the song.
“I personally myself had experiences with other woman, shiieeett with a lot of woman! I thought the song was a good song and i remember my experience.” (iamcardib/twitter) She added: “I know i have use words before that i wasn’t aware that they are offensive to the LGBT community.
“I apologise for that. Not everybody knows the correct ‘terms’ to use. I learned and i stopped using it.” (iamcardib/twitter) In her verse of the song, Cardi sings: “I steal your bitch, have her down with the scissor / Tonight, I don’t want a dog, I want a kitten / I might French a girl from Great Britain.”
Her tweets came after Ora apologised for the song, saying she was sorry if “how I expressed myself in my song has hurt anyone. I would never intentionally cause harm to other LGBTQ+ people or anyone. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty) The singer, who PinkNews exclusively revealed today has tweeted that people are “TOOO HOMO” and “sooo HOMO,” also appeared to come out during her apology.
“I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey,” she wrote, appearing to confirm that she is attracted to women, which she implied last week.
Kiyoko, know to her fans as ‘Lesbian Jesus,’ criticised “Girls” after it came out on May 11, saying: “Every so often there come certain songs with messaging that is just downright tone-deaf, which does more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community. Hayley Kiyoko (Randy Shropshire/Getty) She added: “A song like this just fuels the male gaze while marginalising the idea of women loving women.”
“I don’t need to drink wine to kiss girls; I’ve loved women my entire life,” continued Kiyoko, who has repeatedly portrayed lesbian relationships in her songs and videos.
“This type of message is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community.” Kehlani (Christopher Polk/Getty) The star, who has popularised the best name for 2018 – 20GayTeen – finished: “We can and should do better.”
Kehlani said sentiments contained within the track “weren’t progressive,” adding that “there. were. harmful. lyrics.” More:
(Twentieth Century Fox) The first trailer for the upcoming biopic of Freddie Mercury has faced sharp criticism and allegations of straight-washing by former American Gods showrunner Bryan Fuller.
In 2016, Queen officially announced the long-rumoured film based on the life of the singer , who became one of the most famous victims of the AIDS crisis when he died in 1991.
The first trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody dropped on Tuesday , giving patient fans a tantalising glimpse into the film.
While many people enjoyed the sneak peek, others began to criticise the trailer for straight=washing Mercury and downplaying his identity as a bisexual man, including former American Gods and Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller. (Neilson Barnard/Getty) In the trailer, Mercury, played by Rami Malek, can be seen flirting with both men and women, though many have said the trailer skips over much of Mercury’s attraction towards men.
Fuller hit out at the trailer through a series of tweets on Tuesday. (@BryanFuller /Twitter) The 48-year-old wrote: “Anyone else mildly annoyed (enough to tweet about it) that the #BohemianRhapsody trailer features gay/bi superstar Freddie Mercury flirting with and twirling with a woman but no indication of his love of men?”
When it was suggested that the teaser trailer may be holding back some key parts of the film, Fuller hit back and stated it was a business-motivated decision.
“I disagree. It’s #HETWASHING (hetero-washing) for marketing sakes,” Fuller responded. (Twentieth Century Fox) Some people scolded Fuller for using the term “het-washing” instead of bi-erasure, noting that bisexual people aren’t heterosexual.
The Pushing Daisies writer then stated that the sneak peek was biased towards showing Mercury with women. (@BryanFuller / Twitter) “But they weren’t selling him as ‘bi’ sexual were they? If they were they would have spent equal time showing FM “romantic” with women as they did men,” he wrote.
Fuller then moderated his comments, stating that the trailer was erasing Mercury’s identity as a bisexual man by not showing him with both men and women , accusing the film of “hiding.”
He continued: “I feel what the trailer is doing is queer-erasure. If they were out and proud with his bi-sexuality they would have indicated he was bi-sexual. “Showing him romantic with a woman, but not a man (3 frames don’t count) is not a celebration of bi-sexual identity. It’s hiding it.” (Twentieth Century Fox) He added: “There is a lot of queer erasure in general. And bi-sexuals are more often erased because many don’t understand sexuality, much less fluid sexuality.
“Make no mistake, the marketing campaign emphasized FM’s relationship with a woman to distract from his being a queer artist.”
The film has faced a series of setbacks throughout its eight-year production.
In 2013, Sacha Baron Cohen, who was previously signed on to star in the film, dramatically quit and lashed out at the band for micromanaging the project. (Twentieth Century Fox) The Borat star reportedly clashed with Brian May and Roger Taylor over the tone of the film, and their desire for it to focus on the story of the band instead of a gritty, honest account of Mercury’s life, struggle with HIV/AIDS, and death.
In 2017, director Bryan Singer was promptly dropped from the project after allegations of sexual harassment of a 17-year-old boy.
Bohemian Rhapsody will be released on November 2.
Watch the first teaser trailer below More:
(PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty) In a message marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), a European human rights commissioner has warned that governments must invest more in protecting LGBT rights.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, made the comments urging member states to do more in combating homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
Mijatović is the the most senior human rights official for the Council of Europe, a European institution that spans 47 countries across the continent.
In a statement, the official said that despite significant progress on LGBT equality in some regions, the rise of anti-LGBT incidents across the continent was concerning. Mijatović said: “The past year has been a difficult one for gay, lesbian and transgender people in Europe. In 2017, there were shocking reports of targeted persecutions by law enforcement authorities on the basis of people’s (real or perceived) sexual orientation and gender identity.
“For example, in Chechnya, over 100 gay men (or men perceived to be gay) were arrested, detained or abducted between February and April 2017.
“They were reportedly held in unofficial places of detention and subjected to severe ill-treatment and humiliation. In Azerbaijan, some gay men and transgender persons were apprehended, pressed for bribes, beaten and subjected to forced medical examinations.
“These are only two extreme examples of how far homophobia and transphobia can go. But the problem is disturbingly widespread.
“Sadly, in many European countries daily violent incidents continue to prevent people from living freely and safely, only because of prejudices against their sexual orientation and gender identity.” ILGA’s Rainbow Europe index ranks countries across Europe on LGBT rights The human rights commissioner, who is from Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that the duty was on individual state governments to respect the rights of LGBT people.
Mijatović added: “This situation must change and it must change now: state authorities have the duty to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are treated on an equal footing with all other people. None of us can live and enjoy our rights and freedom if this right is not given to all of us.
“I call on the national authorities of all Council of Europe member states to send an unequivocal message that they will not tolerate attacks against LGBTI people, including by investigating any violent incidents and prosecuting those responsible. They should invest more efforts in combating homophobia and transphobia in their societies.
“All human beings are born with equal rights and equal dignity. LGBTI people do not claim new or additional rights. They are entitled to enjoy the same freedoms and protection as anyone else. (TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty) “I stand together with the LGBTI community and the activists who fight every day for their human rights and for a life free from violence and discrimination. Despite the setbacks, there have been extraordinary gains and much progress in a short period of time.
“As Commissioner for Human Rights, I will continue to defend and promote equal rights for LGBTI people and I rely on the support and cooperation from all 47 Council of Europe states.
“Together, we can and should work toward making our societies more open, accepting and proud of human diversity.”
Earlier this week the Rainbow Europe index ranked progress on LGBT rights across europe
The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia is May 17. More:
(Marvel and Twitter) Marvel films don’t have many LGBT superheroes to look up to.
Unlike 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool series, which now includes a kick-ass lesbian couple , the pansexual Deadpool and Shatterstar, a bisexual, polyamorous superhero , Marvel has been reticent to feature any LGBT characters.
Marvel has attracted criticism for its extreme reluctance to include LGBT people in its films. (Marvel) A scene in Thor: Ragnorok confirming that superhero Valkyrie was bisexual was shot, but mysteriously edited out.
The Black Panther comics have depicted a lesbian relationship between warriors Ayo and Aneka – but a scene hinting at the romance was dumped from Ryan Coogler’s 2018 film adaptation.
And Star Wars execs are more than happy to encourage queer fans’ speculation about a romance between fan favourites Finn and Poe – while they rush to introduce heterosexual love interests. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty) So it makes sense that LGBT Marvel fans would use their boundless creativity to create an icon who can fill the gap.
And that icon, it turns out, is Thor, our very own god of thunder. (Marvel) There seems to be some disagreement over whether Thor is a lesbian or simply a lesbian ally, but either way, it’s a beautiful development among an underrepresented portion of the fandom.
One person explained the phenomenon, saying: “thor is an honorary lesbian icon but none of us dykelings can explain why. (harperrusset/twitter) “All we know is that he is the One Safe Man that all lesbians dance around like maenads and that’s just the way it is.”
Another fan wrote: “feminist and lesbian warrior, thor odinson.” (kenobarnes/twitter) They clarified their thinking, writing: “2012 fanfic thor who did nothing but raid tony’s fridge for poptarts vs 2018 canon thor who is now a lesbian ally and summons thunder as applause for women everywhere,” before calling on others to “rt ur character development kink.” (kenobarnes/twitter) Another person used pictures of rainbows and lightning bolts to prove their point, saying: “Thor, lesbian icon showing his approval and support, 2018.” (tgokmuch/twitter) That checks out.
Another fan insisted that Thor was “pure, soft, unproblematic, doesn’t get into petty fights, cute as f**k, has gay emo siblings, cinnamon roll will fuck u up, lesbian rights, threw the first stonewall brick.” (xmensupremacy/twitter) One of those seems historically inaccurate, but we’ll let it slide.
The “gay emo” comment surely refers to the fact that Thor’s half-sister in the comics, Angela, is a lesbian, while his brother Loki is canonically pansexual and genderfluid. Friendly reminder that Thor’s older comic sister is a canon lesbian and her name is Angela!! She is super badass and so is her girlfriend who is also canonically trans pic.twitter.com/UmOixkeHga — angelasera warrior (@viictormancha) May 9, 2018 Another used a popular meme format to describe a conversation in which Thor talks to Bruce Banner – also known as the Hulk – about being called a lesbian god in New York. (barnesartboy/twitter) One showed “Thor supporting the whole lesbian community.” (lesbianthunder/twitter) And another smartly theorised that “the girls who asked thor for a photo back in thor: ragnarok were actually a lesbian couple and that’s why thor is THE ultimate ally and loved by all lesbians thank you for coming to my ted talk.” (harleivy/twitter) Another person wrote that Thor was “MY god of thunder,” “respects women,” a “lesbian ally” and has “good entrances,” whereas Greek god Zeus, in their words, was a “fuccboi,” “the root of every issue” and a “meninist.” (lgbtkenobi/twitter) And if you don’t get where these fans are coming from, you may be in trouble. (wlwvalkyrie/twitter) One fan explained that “people who don’t understand the thor is a lesbian meme are weak and won’t survive the winter.” More:
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty) Republicans have appointed an extreme anti-LGBT activist to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was today nominated to the federal government body, which polices ‘religious freedom’ internationally and makes policy recommendations to the White House and Congress.
Perkins is best known for his strong opposition to LGBT rights, and only last month urged schools to ban students from taking “same-sex dates” to prom.
He was nominated to the role by the Trump administration and GOP Senator Mitch McConnell. Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council (Win McNamee/Getty) The activist has made a number of extremely disturbing claims about gay people in the past, insisting Christians are “going to find ourselves being loaded in cattle cars like it was when the Nazis took over before we realize we are in such terrible danger”.
He claims that Christians are being sent to “camps” , and that soon gays are “going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians”.
The Southern Poverty Law Center notes he compared gays to paedophiles, saying: “While activists like to claim that paedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. It is a homosexual problem.” His views had caused the SPLC, which monitors extremism, to list the Family Research Council as a hate group. FRC President Tony Perkins speaks during The Family Research Council Action Values Voter Summit (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages) Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, said: “Tony Perkins is the most recognizable anti-LGBTQ activist in America.
“He has espoused the most extreme views of LGBTQ people and other vulnerable communities including vocally supporting foreign laws that punish LGBTQ identity with death.
“The idea that Perkins would be making policy recommendations to an administration that is already anti-LGBTQ is dangerous and puts LGBTQ people directly in harm’s way.”
The Trump administration has maintained close ties to Perkins despite the FRC’s hate group designation. Tony Perkins The Family Research Council recently vowed to fight in court to keep details of its discussions with the Trump administration private – after a subpoena directed activists to turn over documents relating to its work on the transgender troop ban.
Perkins is alleged to have had input in a a White House policy document that made the case for banning transgender people from the military by citing transgender people’s “high rates of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders” and “extremely high rates of suicidal ideation and other comorbidities.”
The document also claimed that “transition-related treatment is proving to be disproportionately costly.”
Leading medical and military experts came forward to deride the claims, with the American Medical Association stressing that there is “no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from service.” Two former Surgeons General also rubbished the report. More:
The body of a transgender woman was found dead in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, just days after another trans woman was found choked to death.
The unidentified victim, who becomes the tenth confirmed trans death in the US this year, was found in the waters of White Rock Creek, according to NBC’s Dallas news affiliate.
A kayaker found the body floating in the water. According to the police, the woman was wearing a black top and black scrub pants.
The Dallas Police Department held a press conference on Tuesday asking locals for help identifying the body. The police described the victim “as [a] black, transgender female approximately 5 feet, 3 inches, and weighing about 130 pounds.”
They are treating the case as an “unexplained death pending a cause of death determination,” and asked anybody with information to come forward.
On May 9, the body of Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon, a 26-year-old trans woman , was found in her apartment. (Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon) The Dallas Police Department said Flores-Pavon was murdered. Although both women were trans women of colour, police said nothing indicates the two cases are related so far.
Dallas Police said Flores-Pavon had been choked to death. She was discovered unconscious and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
An eyewitness account reported that an unidentified man left her apartment shortly before Flores-Pavon was found unconscious, however, no arrest has been made so far.
A vigil was held for Flores-Pavon on Sunday at Dallas’ Cathedral of Hope. When Flores-Pavon’s body was discovered, police said there was “no evidence at this time to suggest this homicide was the result of a hate crime.” Monica Roberts, a board member of local charity Black Transwomen Inc., regretted the case hadn’t been handled as such. “These murder cases tend to be exceptionally violent and we fail to understand in the community why they aren’t classified as hate crimes,” she said.
“As people are educated about the issues of transgender folks, either on the transfeminine or transmasculine spectrum,” Roberts added. “Acceptance follows along.”
Flores-Pavon was the ninth trans woman to be murdered in the US so far this year.
According to Human Rights Watch, there have been 113 trans and non-binary people killed in the country since 2013.
28 trans people were killed in 2017 alone, making it the year with the highest number of homicides targeting trans or non-binary people.
A UK man who was choked by teens for being gay said there needed to be better education about LGBT issues .
The young man, who was attacked while commuting on the London Underground, received compensation for his attack.
He told the Evening Standard he would be donating it to LGBT charities Diversity Role Models and Just Like Us, which work to educate about LGBT people and tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobic bullying. More:
Since January, nine trans women have been tragically murdered in the United States.
Christa Leigh Steel-Knudslein, Viccky Gutierrez, Celine Walker, Tonya Harvey, Phylicia Mitchell, Zakaria Fry, Amia Tyrae Berryman, Sasha Wall and Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón have all lost their lives in 2018.
Of course, these are only the murders that have been officially documented, and have taken place in the US – it’s likely that there are many more undocumented murders of trans women elsewhere in the world.
While activists around the world fight for trans equality and acceptance, it’s also important to remember the members of the community who have tragically lost their lives, often at the hands of intolerance and bigotry. Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42
Christa Leigh Steele-Kundslien, 42, was found stabbed and beaten to death in her Massachusetts home on 5 January. Her husband, Mark Steele-Knudslien, was found guilty. Christa was well known in her local community for her LGBTQ activism, and for being the founder of Miss Trans New England Pageant, which aimed to bring together trans women from around the region. Her longtime friend, Justin Adkins, said: “Her thing was always that transgender women are beautiful and need a venue for trans women to be seen as beautiful.” Viccky Gutierrez, 33
On 10 January, Viccky Gutierrez, 33, was stabbed and set on fire in her Los Angeles home. Her friends described her as “a young trans Latina immigrant woman whose warm smile would give anyone comfort.” Bamby Salcedo – the founder of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition – said in a video: “It’s not that she is gone, it is the way that she was murdered. She was brutally murdered, and we believe that it was intentional, we believe that it was premeditated.” Celine Walker, 36
36-year-old Celine Walker was shot to death in a hotel room on 4 February in Jacksonville, Florida. A close friend expressed her condolences on Facebook, and described Celine as living a “low key life where she did whatever needed to be done in order for her to survive.” Tonya Harvey, 35
Tonya Harvey, 35, was shot and killed in Buffalo, New York on 6 February in what police described as a “hate crime”. Her friend, Ashley Breathe, said on Facebook: “She was murdered this week and misgendered by media, I knew her since I started transitioning, she was so sweet and loving.” Another friend wrote: “Not only was she beautiful she was strong … everything she put her mind to she did it with conviction.” Phylicia Mitchell, 45
Phylicia Mitchell, 45, was shot on 23 February outside her Cleveland home. She was described as a “good person” by her longtime partner Shane Mitchell, “even though she had a drug problem”. He told the Cleveland press: “I miss her tremendously. That’s my soul mate. We went together everywhere. We did everything together. We always held hands on the bus. Years ago people didn’t respect that, but they do now.” Zakaria Fry, 28
28-year-old Zakaria Fry and 70-year-old Eugene Carroll Ray were found dead in a trash container on 19 February. They reportedly died of blunt force trauma to the head and face. Albuquerque police arrested Charles Anthony Spiess, 27, in conjunction with their murder. Zakaria’s friend expressed his condolences and reminisced on when she helped him come out: “You told me fuck anyone who disagrees, and fuck all of those who can’t accept my happiness.” Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28
Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28, was found dead with gunshot wounds on 26 March in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A close friend of Amia said she was “loved by so many people” and “was taken away in the very manner she feared.” Her friends also vowed to bring “justice” to her death. Amia’s murderer has not been caught. Sasha Wall, 29
Sasha Wall, 29, was found slumped over her steering wheel on 1 April in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, with several bullet wounds. The FBI believe she knew her killer. Close friend Donovan Dunlap paid tribute to his “beautiful sister” on Facebook. “I cannot sleep, I hope they find who did this.” Carla Patricia Flores-Pav ón, 26
26-year-old Carla Patricia Flores-Pavón was found in her Texas apartment on 9 May. She had been choked to death. After their investigation, police said there was “no evidence at this time to suggest this homicide was the result of a hate crime.” Carla became the seventh trans woman of colour to be murdered this year. MAY TIMES. Get inside the latest Gay Times to discover exclusive interviews with Antoni Porowski, Dexter Mayfield, Daniel Newman, Casey Spooner and many more!. BUY NOW .
Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif It is a matter of weeks until the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia will be lifted.
Some men have taken to social media to vent their dissatisfaction with the change in the law, using an Arabic hashtag that translates as: "You won’t drive."
However, the hashtag went viral when Saudi women began hitting back at the sexist remarks.
"You wont drive" has been used on Twitter over 65,000 times since Monday. Watch: Saudi women prepare to hit the road
Lots of women posted funny pictures and videos to accompany their response to the hashtag.
Report A number of women decided to use the phrase to post pictures of their dream cars .
One user shared a photograph of a bright pink Audi along with the caption: "My car: June 2018".
Report Some other women shared photographs of their Saudi Driving School books.
Twitter user @Laam_92 simply and defiantly captioned her contribution to the trend: "I will drive."
Report Others suggested that the men who "give themselves the right to interfere in something that concerns women" were "losers".
While many of the responses to the hashtag were light-hearted, some shared a more serious analysis of the trend.
Sarah Al-Otaibi wrote that "this disgusting hashtag" was being used "to threaten women who might even think of driving".
Report A potted timeline of Saudi change
The lifting of the driving ban is one of a number of changes brought in by 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in recent years.
Here are some key changes: December 2015: For the first time, women vote and stand as candidates in local elections
April 2016: The government restricts the authority of the religious police to question and detain members of the public
September 2017: King Salman issues a decree that will allow women to drive
September 2017: Women are allowed to take part in public events to mark National Day .
October 2017: State TV airs a concert by Arab singer Umm Kulthum , the first such broadcast in decades
October 2017: The government says women will be allowed to attend public sports events from 2018
January 2018: Women are allowed into a football stadium for the first time
February 2018: A cleric of the highest Saudi religious body says women are under no religious obligation to wear abayas (black robes)
February 2018: Women are allowed to get jobs in the hotel industry in the Muslim holy city of Mecca
February 2018: Restrictions on celebrating Valentine’s Day are lifted
April 2018: Saudi Arabia hosts its first ever Fashion Week
April 2018: King Salman signs deals with France on creating a national opera
April 2018: The country hosts a women’s bicycle race for the first time
April 2018: The kingdom holds its first cinema screening in decades
By George Pierpoint, UGC and Social News
Additional reporting by BBC Monitoring