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All charges were dropped against Jussie Smollett, the black, openly gay actor who was charged with filing a false police report about being the victim of a hate crime in January.

Yet, despite that ruling on March 29, neither outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel nor Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is ready to let the case go.

Despite Smollett’s unwavering assertion that he was indeed attacked and did not stage the incident himself, Emanuel has spoken out repeatedly against the actor and demanded Smollett pay the city $130,000 to cover the cost of the investigation including police overtime pay.

Another hearing on the Equality Act was held April 9 on Capitol Hill before the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director of HRC testified, as did mothers of gay, lesbian and transgender children.

Warbelow identifies as bisexual and is “the proud parent of a transgender daughter.” She said she was “testifying on behalf of HRC’s three million members and supporters. The overarching message is straightforward and self-evident: discrimination shouldn’t triumph over an individual’s freedom to be themselves.”

The legal director explained the links between the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Equality Act and said, “The Equality Act builds on the legacy of the civil rights statutes that have made America a stronger nation that recognizes diversity as an asset.”

In a victory for LGBTQ employees at the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr ordered the FBI and the Bureau of Prisons to investigate allegations of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees within the department and affiliate agencies.

Barr made the announcement in a letter released April 5. The order is an immediate response to a series of requests from an LGBT group.

Lucy Flores could be any woman — straight, bisexual, lesbian trans. That she’s a well-known Nevada politician with the kind of life story that elevates her to star status is why former Vice President Joe Biden was in Nevada to endorse her for a Lieutenant Governor run in 2014. At that time, Flores alleges, Biden put his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair and then kissed her on her head.

Flores described the incident and how it made her feel in an op-ed in The Cut on March 29. Several presidential candidates have spoken out in support of her including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Obama HUD Secretary Julián Castro.

Sen. Sanders displays transgender pride flag at office

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is showing his support for transgender Americans by displaying the new transgender pride flag placed outside his Burlington office, The Burlington Free Press reported.

The independent senator said in a social-media post that discrimination has no place in society and he was displaying the flag as a show of support for transgender people across the United States.

LGBTQ groups are claiming victory following Google’s March 28 decision to stop offering an app by a ministry that included material considered “ex-gay” involving conversion therapy, which is the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation.

The group Truth Wins Out, based locally, has been at the forefront in the fight against the practice.

The Trump administration’s ban on transgender people serving openly in the military is set to start on April 12, unless the president has a change of heart. The only thing left is the wait, preparation and anxiety among service members who will be affected.

On March 26, a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court lifted the last of four injunctions that had stopped the ban.

Two days later, the House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution formally condemning the Trump administration’s transgender military ban. The vote was 238-185. Every Democrat backed the measure, but only five Republicans did. Bucks County Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick was among them.

DOJ Pride, a group representing the Department of Justice’s LGBTQ employees and contractors, has delivered a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr about the “declining morale” of, and outright discrimination against, LGBTQ workers.

The group cited two main concerns: the lack of a DOJ-issued Equal Employment Opportunity statement, and the results of an October 2018 survey that showed only 31 percent of respondents felt the department valued its LGBTQ employees.

First. Black. Lesbian. Mayor. Of. A. Major. U.S. City.

It is difficult to overstate the historic nature of Lori Lightfoot’s landslide victory to become the next mayor of Chicago. In a runoff that pitted two black Democratic women progressives against each other, Lightfoot’s win puts her not only in one of the highest-profile positions for a black woman, but also makes her one of the highest-placed LGBTQ people in U.S. politics.

As the Equality Act fails to move forward in Congress yet again, a new Pew Research study and a new Gallup poll show that a majority of Americans don’t think LGBT people face discrimination. Among young adults, the demographic traditionally most supportive of LGBT rights, perceptions of discrimination against gay and lesbian people dropped by 16 points.

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