House Dems see LGBT equality as priority

House Dems see LGBT equality as priority

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) will become the most senior openly gay member of the U.S. House as Democrats take the majority this week. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key) Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) will become the most senior openly gay member of the U.S. House as Democrats take the majority this week, but he’s more excited about the growing ranks of openly LGB people who will serve in Congress alongside him and finally being able to move long-awaited legislation to ban anti-LGBT discrimination.

Asked by the Blade during an interview in his office Dec. 20 about his new distinction as the most senior out gay member of the House with outgoing Rep. Jared Polis leaving to become governor of Colorado, Cicilline said he’s “very proud” the chamber will have a net gain of two out LGB members in the 116th Congress and talked about the Equality Act.

“It’s a great privilege to be a part of that group,” Cicilline said. “I think this year will be an opportunity for us to finally move forward on the Equality Act, which I think is the single most important piece of legislation to our community in terms of, once and for all, prohibiting discrimination against members of the LGBT community as a matter of federal law. And so, I’m honored to be the senior most member and really excited about the new colleagues that are joining this caucus.”

(Although Cicilline is now the most senior openly gay person in the House, he’s not the most senior openly gay person in Congress. That distinction belongs to Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin who was first elected to the House in 1998, but moved to the Senate and won re-election last year.)

The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to ban anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, education, federal programs and credit.

The bill also seeks to update federal law to include sex in the list of protected classes in public accommodation in addition to expanding the definition of public accommodations to include retail stores, banks, transportation services and health care services. Further, the Equality Act would establish that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — a 1994 law aimed at protecting religious liberty — can’t be used to enable anti-LGBT discrimination.

Although the ongoing government shutdown will likely be the first priority for the Democratic majority, Nancy Pelosi said advancing the Equality Act would be a personal goal and the legislation will receive a bill number between 2 and 10.

And the lawmaker who’ll spearhead that legislation is Cicilline, who introduced the comprehensive non-discrimination measure in the previous two Congresses with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). For the first time, Democrats will introduce the Equality Act while controlling at least one chamber of Congress, which presents an opportunity for a floor vote on the legislation.

Cicilline said the timing for introduction for the Equality Act in the 116th Congress is yet to be determined, although it’ll definitely coincide with Merkley’s introduction of the legislation in the Senate. The Rhode Island Democrat said conversations with Democratic leadership on the timing for the legislation haven’t yet taken place “other than knowing we’re moving forward on it.”

“I know that the incoming speaker had made public statements about our intention to make the Equality Act a priority, which I’m delighted to hear,” Cicilline said.

Cicilline said he expects committees with jurisdiction over the Equality Act — such as the Judiciary Committee and the Education & the Workforce Committee — to hold hearings on the legislation before moving forward in accordance with regular order before the floor vote.

The next iteration of the Equality Act will have “pretty much” the same language as its previous iterations, Cicilline said. He added every time he reintroduces a piece of legislation “it’s another occasion to kind of look at the bill and see if there’s anything to change.”

“So we’ll go through that process, but it’ll be essentially the same bill,” Cicilline added.

Asked whether he had anything in mind that would make the Equality Act not the same in the 116th Congress, Cicilline replied, “No.”

In the previous Congress, all members of the Democratic caucus were co-sponsors of the legislation, except for two lawmakers: Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), whom LGBT groups sought (unsuccessfully) to oust during the Democratic primary last year for not backing LGBT rights, and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio).

Cicilline said he expects the same level of support in the Democratic caucus as it takes the majority in the 116th Congress.

“I’ve talked to a number of my new colleagues about the Equality Act, a number of them have already contacted me about wanting to be co-sponsor, so I expect will have the same kind of overwhelming Democratic support,” Cicilline said. “Hopefully, every Democrat will be a co-sponsor.”

Republicans however, are a different story. Only two Republicans co-sponsored the Equality Act in the last Congress. One of them is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), known for being the most pro-LGBT House Republican, who retired after 24 years in Congress. The other Republican co-sponsor, Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.), was voted out of office in the Democratic “blue” wave.

Cicilline said he’s had conversations on the Republican side of the aisle about the Equality Act and is “going to continue those because I want to do everything I had to make it bipartisan.

“I think it’ll be really important to have some of our Republican colleagues, but I don’t have any yet that are committed to it,” Cicilline added.

Asked whether there were any Republican possibilities he could name, Cicilline demurred.

“If I name them, they become less possible,” Cicilline said. “I’m going to explore with as many Republican colleagues as I can and get them on board.”

But the Equality Act also faces concerns among civil rights supporters. Many civil rights groups, including the Leadership Council on Civil & Human Rights, have said they support the goals of the Equality Act, but have stopped short of a full endorsement of the bill.

Fudge, who was considering a leadership challenge to Pelosi after Democrats won their majority, has expressed concerns about opening the Civil Rights Act to amendments on the House floor, where the landmark legislation could be watered down.

“What I opposed was including the Equality Act in the current Civil Rights Act,” Fudge said in a statement. “The Civil Rights Act is over 50 years old and isn’t even adequate to protect the people currently in it. I want us to do a new and modern civil rights bill that protects the LGBTQ community and updates protections for this era. I do not believe it is appropriate to open and relitigate the current Civil Rights Act.”

Cicilline said the Leadership Council on Civil & Human Rights made “a very strong statement of support of equality for our community” in regards to the Equality Act. As for Fudge’s concerns, Cicilline said he understands them, but doesn’t share them.

“I understand the argument advanced by Congresswoman Fudge,” Cicilline said. “I disagree with it. I think that we can’t have full equality by having a separate but equal civil rights bill.”

Cicilline said barring discrimination against LGBT people by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has significant benefits that a different bill couldn’t accomplish. Among these benefits is applying more than 50 years of jurisprudence of the landmark law to anti-LGBT discrimination.

“Really the only way to do it is to include it in the existing civil rights architecture, so you have the benefit of all that jurisprudence whenever exemptions exist, whenever other kinds of tests need to be applied,” Cicilline said. “There’s significant jurisprudence on it, and so it saves kind of litigating all these things again. So, I think there’s real value legally and real value in terms of making a strong statement that we need for equality.”

Cicilline pointed out that every other member of the Congressional Black Caucus was a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, including civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), whom Cicilline said was “one of the early champions of the bill, and he’s a respected leader in that community.”

After the Equality Act passes the House, the game changes. Instead of a new Democratic majority, the U.S. Senate under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has an expanded Republican majority. Moreover, President Trump would need to sign any legislation for it to become law.

But Cicilline denied passage of the Equality Act in the House is the end of the story. In fact, he called it the “beginning of the story” because the campaign to pressure Republicans to support LGBT rights will begin.

“We will work hard to get it passed in the Senate,” Cicilline said. “I think this is one where it’s very critical for outside groups to play a role in identifying who are the key senators who are at least willing to consider supporting the Equality Act and that they hear from constituents in their districts from the LGBT community and allies about the importance of this, and we begin a real campaign to persuade them to do it.”

Referencing polls showing the American public opposes discrimination against LGBT people, Cicilline said the issue “is one where the American people are way ahead of us overwhelmingly.”

“I think part of our challenge is to catch up to where the American people are,” Cicilline said. “They understand fundamentally that discrimination is wrong. It’s antithetical to the fabric that is this country. And when you give them the examples of the kind of discrimination we’re talking about they’re opposed to it. So I think this is about kind of Congress basically catching up to where the rest of the country is and making certain that qualified people cannot be fired from their jobs, cannot be kicked out of housing.”

Cicilline also wouldn’t rule out Trump supporting the Equality Act, recalling an interview Trump gave in 2000 to The Advocate in which he said he likes the idea of adding sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Trump hasn’t said whether he still holds that position.

“It’s hard to know that he’ll continue to maintain that position, especially when you think of the ways the administration has behaved, but if we bill pass the bill soon, that’s our next effort,” Cicilline said.

The third branch of the U.S. government may also have a chance to weigh in on anti-LGBT discrimination. Two petitions are pending before the Supreme Court calling on justices to affirm anti-gay discrimination amounts to sex discrimination under current law, and another petition seeks clarification on whether anti-trans discrimination is sex discrimination.

For decades, courts have more or less consistently found anti-trans discrimination is sex discrimination. Court rulings finding anti-gay discrimination is sex discrimination are a relatively new development, but a growing number of them are reaching that conclusion.

In the event the Supreme Court decides to take up these cases, Cicilline said either way justices would […]

The government has been accused of “mishandling” its approach to transgender issues by a senior Conservative MP.

The government has been accused of "mishandling" its approach to transgender issues by a senior Conservative MP.

Maria Miller said the government’s focus should be on ‘getting their services right first and foremost’ Maria Miller, chairwoman of the women and equalities committee, said many trans people still do not have access to basic healthcare – something the committee raised with ministers three years ago.

The former cabinet minister said the focus should be on improving service provision, rather than reforms to the legal recognition process.

"Many trans people simply don’t have access to the basic healthcare that the rest of us take for granted – things like cervical smears are often things that trans men are not able to access," she said.

"(The provision of services) seems to have somewhat been eclipsed by an announcement by the government on the Gender Recognition Act – that was one of our recommendations, but only one of 33."

Mrs Miller described the focus on legislation as "wrongheaded", adding: "There has been very little headway made on that and indeed even on the area the government has announced its interest – the Gender Recognition Act – there has been very little concrete proposals put forward over the last three years, and I think that has left a vacuum which has been unhelpful." She said the Gender Recognition Act policy – announced two years ago – had not been followed up by any evidence that "much thought had been put into how that announcement would actually be taken forward".

She said: "As a result there has been a debate focusing in on things that really are not as important as making sure that trans people have access to public services, and the debate has been focused in on issues that are much less important to trans people’s lives.

"I think they have mishandled their approach to trans issues and if they were actually looking carefully at my select committee report they would have focused in on the provision of services first to make sure that that was right.

"Those are the issues that really matter to trans people’s lives, and then look at the review of the Gender Recognition Act – that was not the most pressing issue for trans people that we met as part of the inquiry."

A government spokeswoman said its "ambitious" £4.5m action plan puts LGBT people’s needs "at the heart of the NHS".

"This includes improving the way gender identity services work for transgender adults and appointing a national adviser to lead improvements in LGBT healthcare," they said.

"Since November, we have also launched the LGBT health and social care fund, which will provide £1m to tackle the health inequalities LGBT people face.

"Everyone in this country should feel safe, supported and happy to live their lives – and this includes accessing appropriate support and treatment from the NHS as and when they need it, regardless of their sexual orientation, race or gender identity."

2019 Most Eligible LGBT Singles nominations

2019 Most Eligible LGBT Singles nominations

Are you or a friend looking to find a little love in 2019? We are looking for the Top 20 LGBT singles in the Washington, D.C. region. Nominate you or your friends until January 14th using the form below or by clicking HERE.

The Top 20 will be announced online February 4th. Everyone will get a chance to meet the singles at the Most Eligible LGBT Singles Party on Saturday, February 9th.

View our 2018 singles HERE . For updates visit washingtonblade.com/singles

New Congress to Take Up Minimum Wages, LGBT Discrimination

New Congress to Take Up Minimum Wages, LGBT Discrimination

Minimum wages and LGBT discrimination protections are likely to highlight the legislation introduced by Democrats in the 116th Congress. Little expectation for bipartisanship on labor issues

House hearings to put Trump policy moves under microscope

Lawmakers return to Congress with an eye on 2020, and that could shape labor policy in the new legislative session.

Once the partial government shutdown has been resolved, minimum wage and LGBT discrimination bills will highlight early legislative activity in the Democrat-controlled House. Those measures will need to be tailored to attract some Republican support in the Senate if they’re going to eventually land on President Donald Trump’s desk for signature.

Democrats plan to soon reintroduce legislation that would raise…

Hate Crimes Are Trending Down, But You Wouldn’t Know That From LGBT Media

Hate Crimes Are Trending Down, But You Wouldn’t Know That From LGBT Media

It must be a confusing time for many gay Americans. On the one hand, we read headlines from LGBT advocacy organizations like the Human Rights Campaign saying “New FBI Statistics Show Alarming Increase in Number of Reported Hate Crimes.” On the other we see headlines championing a new wave of LGBT political leaders taking office, such as the Washington Post’s “ A banner year for LGBT candidates got even stronger with Kyrsten Sinema’s Senate win.”

President Trump nominated an openly gay and conservative lawyer, Patrick Bumatay , to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, just as the HRC’s Chad Griffin declares , “A banner year for the LGBTQ community made clear that the days of attacking LGBTQ people for political gain are over, and the American people will not stand for lawmakers who try to drum up votes by trafficking in hate.”

While the majority, if not all, of legal and social issues facing gay Americans have been settled in our favor, LGBT media seem fixated on the narrowing list of negative experiences still affecting us. In particular, this includes raising alarm over a claimed rise in hate crimes.

In support of a new HRC initiative titled United Against Hate , Griffin tweeted , “New statistics reveal a disturbing increase in reported hate crimes & ongoing epidemic of anti-trans violence. Lawmakers must act with urgency to address this crisis and stand united against those who embolden hate through their words, actions, or silence.”

The report says there has been a 17 percent increase in hate crimes from 2016 to 2017. Citing the 20th anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard, the HRC stated , “These latest FBI hate crime statistics show that even decades after his brutal murder, LGBTQ people and other minorities are still facing alarming levels of hate-fueled violence.”

What we see, however, is actually a fairly steady reporting rate with a downward trend over the last decade. The FBI Hate Crimes report began separating “gender identity,” which includes transgender individuals, in 2013. After a drop that year, there has been a rise in incidents since then. The HRC relies on a common assumption in discussing hate crimes and violence by insisting the reporting only shows a fraction of the real-world incidents. It states, “87 percent of the agencies that participated in the program reported no hate crimes in their jurisdiction, suggesting that agencies still face challenges in identifying and reporting hate crimes.” The organization also argues that while the number of reporting agencies increased in 2017, since hate crime reporting is voluntary, the numbers do not reflect reality.

The difficulty here is, of course, that since the numbers have adjusted only slightly over the years, a lack of reporting does not necessarily indicate unreported crimes. It is important to note that the definition of “hate crime” varies state to state and the categories of this crime can include persons, property, or society.

Of the total number of hate crimes affecting persons (57.6 percent) in 2017 in all categories, 44.9 percent involved “intimidation,” while 34.3 percent were “simple assault.” Simple assault is defined as “the attempt to cause serious physical harm to another individual. It also refers to causing the individual to be in fear or apprehension of an imminent battery. The crime does not involve physical contact with the victim.” Property crimes, which involved 39.7 percent of all hate crimes, were largely vandalism or destruction (73.7 percent).

Certainly, these types of crimes are destructive and traumatic for the victims, but proportion matters as well. It is clear that in the vast majority of these cases no person is physically injured.

Also, many incidents of vandalism turn out to be hoaxes . In November it was found that four out of five racist notes reported on Drake University’s campus in Iowa were committed by the student reporting them, and the fifth was considered a copycat.

Some claims of violence are also found to be hoaxes. In Portland, Oregon the family of a gay 22-year-old claimed he was the victim of a hate crime in which he was thrown from a moving train , resulting in severe injury and coma. An investigation, which included speaking with 300 people including passengers who had interacted with him, concluded, “There is nothing to suggest that he was involuntarily removed from the train. There is nothing to suggest criminal intent in this investigation.”

Hate crimes are also subjective. A case in Long Island in which a 21-year-old man stole LGBT flags from a church on multiple occasions is classified as a “hate crime.”

In July, it was found that in Washington DC nearly half of LGBT hate crimes prosecuted by the district end up being dismissed or dropped. Hate crime convictions are much smaller than reports, as well. In Texas in 2017, “[f]rom 2010 through 2015, there were 981 cases reported to police in Texas as potential hate crimes. ProPublica examined the records kept by the Texas Judicial Branch and confirmed just five hate crime convictions.”

The report goes on to say, “Interviews with law enforcement make clear that some number of the reports wind up dismissed because of too little evidence – or evidence that suggests that the alleged crimes didn’t happen at all. Another considerable number are cases that fail to produce an arrest and thus go unsolved.” Most reported hate crimes, per the interviews, never identify a suspect.

It is also important to remember that reports of transgender murders, often cited as a growing epidemic, often reflect murders of transgender individuals but without a biased motivation. It should also be noted that as LGBT breaks down into smaller and smaller categories with more broad definitions of “hate crime,” this will result in increases at smaller levels even if the overall numbers do not reflect a total trend. So will adding categories, as the FBI did in 2013 with gender identity.

The political left and right view this situation differently. From the left’s perspective, the lack of conviction, evidence, and reporting indicates a systematic problem, reflecting prejudice, ignorance, or both. The right views this all as proof the left is exaggerating the problem. The stream of highly publicized incidents that turn out to be hoaxes and the lack of common experience reflecting the claims of an epidemic of violent hate reinforces this view. Those who are targeted with violence or hatred based on their personal characteristics are significantly harmed by any false claims, since this increases the perception that claims of a hate crime are likely to be a hoax.

One major difficulty in understanding hate crime is that it is not common to witness bias crimes or even hatred targeting a specific protected group. While this does not diminish genuine hate crimes, it does affect their relevancy to public discourse.

The truth is that, outside of rare outliers, hate crimes in general, and LGBT hate crimes in particular, are trending downward over time. While the LGBT media focuses on year by year changes, depending on their current political narrative, it must be viewed as a larger picture of society. Our country is generally growing safer over time, with fluctuations year by year.

As a society we must address violence and hatred, but we do not need to perpetuate fear and paranoia in groups when it is not necessary, especially for politics. We LGBT people live in a remarkably safe and accepting society that takes violence and hatred towards us extremely seriously. It is our obligation to ensure that dedication to defeating this hatred is honored with truth and relevance.

We should be careful not to exaggerate and exploit fear and our fellow Americans’ good intentions. Hate crimes are rare, and LGBT hate crimes are trending downward over time. That is a great thing we should be celebrating as a culture. It will continue to get better if we can focus on fighting real hated and violence, rather than perpetuating political narratives.

Montclair State to Offer Course Exploring ‘Non-Human Perspectives’ of LGBT

Montclair State to Offer Course Exploring ‘Non-Human Perspectives’ of LGBT

“Queer Identities in a Transforming World: The Trouble with Normal.” It’s always important to consider the non-human perspective on important issues like this, isn’t it? The College Fix reports : University offers class that explores ‘non-human perspectives’ of LGBT A public university is giving its students an opportunity to learn about “non-human perspectives” of LGBT identities and politics, though the professor teaching the class did not explain how studying such a perspective was even possible. The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Studies Department at Montclair State University offers a 200-level course called “Queer Identities in a Transforming World: The Trouble with Normal.” The class is being offered this coming semester. According to the course description, the class will use an array of “textual and cinematic sources” to “explore issues such as gender performance, the third sex, transgender issues, intersex issues, the political underpinnings and the transgressive nature of ‘queer’, the history of queer politics (from AIDS activism to the gay marriage issue), schisms within the LGBTQ political movements, queers and disability, issues of race, class and representation within the queer community, and non-human perspectives on queer.” The course is a two-and-a-half hour lecture that meets once a week, according to a listing in the university’s scheduling catalogue.

I’m married and straight, but wish I could have same-sex hookups

I’m married and straight, but wish I could have same-sex hookups

Whisper: I’m married and straight but wish I could have gay sex (Whisper) If you thought being in the closet was hard, try being in the closet while you are married. The confessions show that some people are longing for gay love, despite being married to the opposite gender. Some couples have more secrets than others. No compatible source was found for this media.

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Piers Morgan says Greggs should have gender fluid name

Piers Morgan says Greggs should have gender fluid name

Piers Morgan has suggested that Greggs make its name gender fluid (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty) Piers Morgan has hit out at Greggs after the chain launched a vegan sausage roll, saying it should adopt a gender fluid name.

The Good Morning Britain host , who has previously used gender fluid concepts to ridicule initiatives that promote diversity , tweeted Greggs on Wednesday (January 2): “Isn’t it time you changed your name to something more gender fluid & less toxically masculine?” “Oh hello Piers, we’ve been expecting you.”

— Greggs’ tweet to Piers Morgan Greggs’ name comes from the surname of its founder, Newcastle baker John Gregg.

The post came after Morgan tweeted his outrage at Greggs’ initial announcement, saying: “Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns.”

This led the bakery company to reply: “Oh hello Piers, we’ve been expecting you.”

Greggs’ tweet went viral, attracting more than 100,000 retweets and likes. Morgan’s response 21 minutes later— as many have pointed out online—has fared much worse, gaining around 3,500. Piers Morgan called on Greggs to change its name to a gender fluid moniker (piersmorgan/twitter) This is despite Morgan having 6.51 million followers to Greggs’ 151,000. Piers Morgan’s tweet prompts many to try vegan sausage roll

Morgan’s derogatory comments about Greggs’ vegan sausage roll had the reverse effect on many who voiced their intention to buy one as soon as possible.

One of these tweeters said: “Hello Greggs; I have never eaten anything made by you, and I am not a vegan. But you have pissed off Piers Morgan, so I shall make sure I buy one of your vegan sausage rolls just because of that .” Another suggested their own renaming idea, saying: “Greggs @GreggsOfficial just owned and humiliated @piersmorgan.

“As a meat eating Steak Bake fan I’m going to try a vegan sausage roll and I think you should consider renaming it ‘the Piers’.” “Thanks @GreggsOfficial I will buying one today. Would not have known about it, without your advertising @piersmorgan”

And other commenters wrote that Morgan was the only reason they were now aware of the roll.

“As a Guardian reading, feminist, vegan with pink hair I have been waiting for this for many years,” said one of these tweeters.

“Thanks @GreggsOfficial I will buying one today. Would not have known about it, without your advertising @piersmorgan.” Piers Morgan has history of attacking gender fluid people

ITV presenter Morgan called gender fluid people “damaging to society” on his show last year , and said non-binary kids were “a contagion” in May while questioning trans non-binary couple Fox Fisher and Owl’s gender identities.

He followed this up with the claim that gender fluid people were “absurd.”

And after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced last month they were expecting a child, Morgan derided trans people by predicting that the baby would be “a gender fluid vegan.”

7 Gay YouTubers you should subscribe to

7 Gay YouTubers you should subscribe to

(Joey Graceffa / YouTube) Looking for the best gay YouTubers out there? We list seven you simply have to follow and watch.

Franta joined YouTube in 2010 and has since earned over five million followers.

In 2014, he posted a coming out video , revealing to his then 3.6 million fans that he is gay. He had said: “I’m just going to be really honest… 2014 is truly the year that I have accepted who I am and become happy with that person.

“Today I want to talk to you guys about that and be open and honest, and tell you that I’m gay.”

He uploads videos every Monday with content ranging from lifestyle vlogs to comedy skits to inspiration films.

Another notable gay YouTuber is Doug Armstrong, who is based in London, England.

Armstrong often posts entertaining and fun-filled video content, including some of his own songs. In his song “It’s Okay To Be Gay,” Armstrong revealed that he often loses subscribers whenever he posts a video with reference to his sexuality.

With over 84,000 subscribers, Calum McSwiggan is a British LGBT+ lifestyle YouTuber, based in London.

The gay YouTuber creates content about queer culture, mental health, issues surrounding LGBT+ communities, and sex and relationships. Two years ago, the YouTube star pleaded guilty to vandalising a car during an incident he claimed was an anti-gay attack in Los Angeles.

For those who love make-up, subscribe to gay YouTuber James Charles .

The make-up artist has over 11 million followers and is an internet sensation who had to recently ask fans to stop showing up at his home . James Charles is among many excellent gay Youtubers (Frazer Harrison/Getty) The star made the plea in a tweet, saying: “I will not hug you, I will not take a photo with you, and I absolutely will not sign your palette.

“It is extremely disrespectful & makes me feel very unsafe in my own home. Respect people’s privacy, it’s really not that hard.”

With almost nine million subscribers, Graceffa uploads new content to his YouTube channel several times each week. His official music video to “ Don’t Wait “—a song about coming out—was extremely popular, with the video getting over one million likes.

The song tells a fairy tale story featuring princes, a witch and goblins. It ends with Graceffa locking lips with the prince.

You may remember Thomas Sanders from the app Vine. He went viral very quickly from hilarious six-second videos, with the “story time” clips being ever-popular. If you haven’t yet seen them, you should watch them. While many of his clips are hilarious, he also posts more serious clips with focus on the LGBT+ community.

And to top off our list of best gay YouTubers, we introduce you to Mark E Miller, who came out in 2012 and has since posted weekly videos. The YouTube star hit headlines when he split with his long-time boyfriend, leaving his queer fans heartbroken . His ex-boyfriend stars in dozens of Miller’s videos, and together, they posted a video explaining their break-up. Who are your favourite gay YouTubers?

Of course, there are dozens of excellent gay YouTubers beyond our list. But, the next time you’re up past midnight scrolling through YouTube, these profiles are definitely a great starting point for some LGBT entertainment.

California adopts self-ID gender recognition law

California adopts self-ID gender recognition law

A marcher has their fingernails painted in the pink and blue transgender community colors at the Los Angeles Pride March, June 11, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty) A self-ID law that allows transgender people to change their legal gender has come into effect in California.

Parts of California’s Gender Recognition Act, which was passed in October 2017, came into effect on January 1.

The law allows transgender and non-binary people in the state to submit paperwork to update the gender listed on state ID cards and driver’s licences without having to go through a medicalised application process.

Trans people can self-identify in the gender categories “of male, female, or nonbinary,” with California becoming one of the few states to permit recognition of non-binary people.

The “self-certification” aspect of the law was not contentious at the time the bill was passed, despite similar proposals attracting significant backlash in the UK.

According to The Guardian , an estimated 54,600 people are expected to take advantage of the reforms in the first year, “self-certifying” their gender. California permits self-ID gender recognition

Trans Californians welcomed the change.

Genderqueer Google employee Alon Altman live-tweeted their experience of “self-certifying” their gender as non-binary via the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Good morning! I have all my documents at hand and on my way to the @CA_DMV . My appointment is for 9:40 so I’ll be there just in time. #EnbyDMV Altman said: “I’m glad that finally non-binary people are recognized, that we exist.”

Nazanin Szanto of Oakland told the Guardian : “It’s the very beginning of a way larger fight. Non-binary people have been here forever … Now, we’re getting recognition. We’re getting a chance to live slightly more authentically.”

A previously-enacted portion of California’s Gender Recognition Act also allows trans people to update their birth certificate. Although no medical evidence is required, applicants “have to submit an affidavit attesting, under penalty of perjury, that the request for a change of gender is to conform their legal gender to their gender identity
and not for any fraudulent purpose.” Members of the transgender community gather to celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty) Because federal law only permits the genders ‘male’ and ‘female,’ people recognised as non-binary in California will not have their chosen identity recognised on documents issued by the US federal government, including Social Security cards, passports and green cards. Self-ID laws are ‘international best practice’ for gender recognition

Self-identification has become the international standard for modern gender recognition laws, with a number of European countries adopting self-ID legislation.

Malta, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland and Belgium have all adopted the self-ID system of gender recognition.

Similar proposals are under consideration in the UK, but a groundswell of opposition to the plans could stop self-ID coming into effect.

Media columnists have claimed the proposals will make women’s facilities, including shelters and changing rooms, unsafe by permitting transgender women.

However, evidence from other countries that have adopted self-ID laws shows that the impact has been non-existent other than granting rights to trans people.

The Republic of Ireland quietly adopted a liberal gender recognition law back in 2015 , allowing transgender people to change their gender on a self-declaratory basis by filling out a simple form.

The Irish government has not flagged any issues with the self-declaration law in the years it has been in operation.