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Sundance Film Festival sign, Travis Wise/CC BY 2.0

Sundance Highlights Gay Films

The Sundance Film Festival took place this past weekend, and for the first time it happened mostly online rather than at its Utah home. In a preview, George Elkind wrote last week that “Sundance was always on the cutting edge of queer filmmaking; in 2021, it still is.” The Advocate cataloged 14 LGBTQ titles in this year’s lineup, out of a total of some 130 premiers. We look forward to the broader release of these gay highlights:

  • Ailey explores the life and art of legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey, who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958 and died of AIDS in 1989.
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White House lit with rainbow colors, 2015

Biden Off to Running Start

Joe Biden was inaugurated as 46th president of the United States last Wednesday in a peaceful ceremony watched over by some 25,000 National Guard troops. The contrast with the Trump Administration could not be starker. One day after outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ranted that “multiculturalism” isn’t “who America is,” the 22-year-old Black poet Amanda Gorman read from the steps of the Capitol, “[E]very corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful.” Incoming Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that U.S. embassies would again be permitted to fly the rainbow flag, and the White House contact form was reborn with a popdown menu labeled “Pronouns.”..  >> Read more >>

Piero di Cosimo, "A Hunting Scene," ca. 1494-1500 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Hate Crimes, SCOTUS—and John Waters

As states conduct canvassing in preparation for certifying the results of the 2020 election, President Trump continues to insist falsely that he actually won. In more than 300 tweets since November 3, Mr. Trump has woven a web of lies about alleged Democratic voter fraud that is utterly contradicted by a raft of testimony from state and federal voting officials and independent experts. He has filed numerous lawsuits contesting results or challenging vote-counting procedures, many of which have been tossed out of court for want of evidence. While some fear that he will try to use swing-state legislatures to appoint GOP electors in defiance of the popular vote, at the moment this still appears unlikely to succeed...  >> Read more >>

President-Elect Joe Biden

Biden Victory a Win for LGBTQ Rights

Joe Biden was named winner of the 2020 election by all major TV networks, including Fox News, last Saturday after amassing 273 electoral votes. The count currently stands at 290 votes for Mr. Biden to 214 for Donald Trump, with only Georgia and North Carolina as yet undecided. Mr. Trump and the GOP have yet to acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory.

President-Elect Biden’s victory is a clear win for LGBTQ rights. During his campaign, Mr. Biden laid out a detailed “plan to advance LGBTQ+ equality in America and around the world.” He has named a number of LGBTQ people to his transition team, including Dave Noble, the gay executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, and there is extensive speculation that Pete Buttigieg could win a cabinet post...  >> Read more >>

U.S. Supreme Court at night

One Man’s Crusade for Gay Rights

Three days ago, the United States lost one of its greatest liberal jurists: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. During her 27-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg voted in the majority in a number of critical cases concerning LGBTQ rights, including those legalizing gay sex and same sex marriage and prohibiting employment discrimination. We are in shock at her loss.

One of the first to recognize the role that the courts might play in advancing the cause of LGBTQ rights was Franklin E. Kameny, a young astronomer who was fired by the U.S. Army Map Service in 1957 for being gay. Kameny was not a pushover, however, as Eric Cervini details in a new biography, The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs...  >> Read more >>

Protestors outside Supreme Court for Bostock v. Clayton County

You can’t fire me because I’m gay!

Finally, some good news! On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Bostock v. Clayton County

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the four members of the court’s liberal bloc in the decision in Bostock v. Clayton County and two other cases. The ruling found that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination based on sex, applies equally to sexual orientation and gender identity. Before the Bostock decision, only nineteen states had comprehensive laws protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to Lambda Legal...  >> Read more >>