Fans worldwide are in mourning, after the announcement that rock icon Tom Petty died last night, of a heart attack in his home in California.

It came as a shock to many, as Petty had only recently finished his latest tour, a 40th Anniversary celebration with his band The Heartbreakers

He had hinted that this may be his last circuit, saying “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking this might be the last big one,” but many believed it to be an empty threat.

Midway through the tour, however, Petty made news for what was seen as a show of support for transgender rights.

In the performance of one of his most famous songs, “American Girl,” Petty regularly projected pictures of a diverse group of women.

On this tour, the video footage included a photo of transgender actress and activist Alexis Arquette.

Arquette came out as transgender in her late 30s, and died last year, aged 47, from complications after having lived for almost 30 years with HIV.

The photo took on particular significance when Petty played a sold-out show in New York on July 26, just hours after Trump announced his transgender military ban.

Many hailed Petty’s inclusion of Arquette as a strong political statement, considering the timing.

David Arquette, Alexis’ brother, thanked Petty on Instagram for the gesture.

Petty hadn’t been shy about expressing his opinion on other political topics. In an interview with Billboard in 2014, he lashed out at members of the Catholic community.

“I’m fine with whatever religion you want to have, but it can’t tell anybody it’s OK to kill people, and it can’t abuse children systematically for God knows how many years.”

“It seems to me that no one’s got Christ more wrong than the Christians,” he continued.

He also notoriously refused the rights of his songs to a number of Republican political candidates, even going so far as to file a cease-and-desist when George W. Bush tried to use Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down,” in his Presidential campaign.

In contrast, Petty was glad to let then-President Obama walk onstage to the song at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, saying he “got chills.”

After the murder of a transgender teen in Missouri, prosecutors said the three main suspects arrested will not face hate crime charges. Texas County authorities have charged Andrew Vrba, Isis Schauer, both 18, and Briana Calderas, 24, with the first-degree murder of 17-year-old Ally Lee Steinfeld after she was reported missing on September 14.

Steinfeld, who was born as Joseph Matthew Steinfeld, was missing for a month before police found her badly burned remains in a bag dumped in a chicken coop near the mobile home where the teen lived in with the suspects, reports said.

Calderas and Schauer allegedly said Vrba had repeatedly stabbed the victim’s genitals inside the residence’s living room, gouged her eyes out and later bragged about the killing, according to court records.

The teens allegedly burned and disposed of the body after the killing, reports said.

After the suspects' arrests, Calderas allegedly confessed to police she tried to help hide the body and told them where the murder weapon could be found, according to reports.

The details of Steinfeld’s murder have caused LGBTQ advocates to call for the suspects to face hate crime charges.

"There couldn't be a more vivid example of someone being targeted because of their gender identity than being stabbed in their genitals," Dru Levasseur, director of the Transgender Rights Project for Lambda Legal, told CNN. "I've heard complete outrage from trans people about how they (authorities) could not prosecute this as a hate crime.”

Authorities said, however, that they do not believe the murders were motivated by the teen’s sexuality.

"I would say murder in the first-degree is all that matters. That is a hate crime in itself,” Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr told the Associated Press.

In Missouri, hate-crime charges can not be added onto a first-degree murder charge.

Human Rights Campaign spokesman Chris Sgro said Steinfeld’s death marks the 21sttransgender person to be killed in the U.S. this year.

"This violence, often motivated by hatred, must come to an end. We will continue to mourn Ally and fight back against transphobia and anti-trans violence,” Sgro told the AP.


Isabella Red Cloud is a transgender woman of color living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who said she was turned away from the only place in town serving a hot meal three times a day to the homeless, impoverished and unemployed.

Red Cloud, 26, identifies as Two Spirit and is currently unemployed. She wore a dress on Saturday when she visited Union Gospel Mission of Sioux Falls, which is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Red Cloud said she was told by a man identified only as “Don,” that she had to leave because she was “dressed inappropriately,” and that she could not come back until she “dressed like a man.”

As she was being escorted out, Red Cloud activated the Facebook app on her mobile phone and started a live stream to document what was happening.

"I don’t know a thing about a woman being turned away,” director Fran Stenberg told LGBTQ Nation in a phone interview. “It was a man that was turned away,” he said, and confirmed he understood what the term “transgender” means when informed Red Cloud identifies as a transgender woman.

“What I know about, simply, is that it was a decision that was made, and occasionally we have to refuse service to somebody because they’re disruptive, or whatever. That’s as much as I know about it.”

When asked what was disruptive about this woman seeking food, Stenberg replied that this wasn’t the first time Red Cloud has done this, meaning presenting herself as the woman she is, and that it was her gender expression that caused her ejection:

We try to keep a safe place and if there’s any disruptive action of anybody, no matter what it is about, we ask them to leave and come back at some other time. [Being out as a trans woman] creates an animosity and we try to keep a safe place for others.

Stenberg said his mission was acting according to the Bible. “Christianity is dependent on our obedience to God.” It’s interesting to note that on the mission’s website the founder is listed as Thomas F. Morse, a convicted felon who served time for murder.

Red Cloud was released from prison for auto theft in February and is currently a transient, couch-surfing with friends. She says the last time she tried to visit the mission was seven years ago, before beginning her prison sentnce. The incident on Saturday said left her so depressed she said she contemplated suicide; concerned friends came to her aid and offered her love and support.

A small group of Red Cloud’s supporters joined her the next day in a march from the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Joseph to the mission, waving a rainbow flag. and then they attempted to attend Sunday evening services.

This time, “Don,” the same man who ejected her on Saturday, called police to have them removed for trespassing on Sunday.

Red Cloud said they walked past him and were sitting, praying and singing for about ten minutes before police arrived and escorted them out, handing each a trespassing notice that they were required by law to stay off the premises for six months.

A friend of Red Cloud’s recorded the incident on cellphone video.


Stenberg told LGBTQ Nation police were called because “they were there disrupting the service,” and the protesters were ejected because “they were promoting what they believe and how they feel,” which is that a trans woman is a woman. When asked if he understood that the group was expressing their support for transgender rights, Stenberg said, “I would say that’s right.”

Red Cloud said police treated them with respect and expressed that they were disappointed about how they were treated. “Officer Cooke was really, really supportive,” she said, and added that she has received a lot of support since posting the incident.

This story, first published in LGBTQ Nation, was followed up by KDLT-TV in Sioux Falls Monday evening. Both Red Cloud and transgender advocate Kendra Kay Heathscott spoke to the station about the incidents, as did Stenberg.

After the Supreme Court ditched the G.G. v. Gloucester School Board case earlier this year, the matter appeared destined to unceremoniously die as moot. Not that the issue of transgender rights has yet slipped into the national rearview mirror where America keeps its past injustices — passed by, but hopefully never truly absent as reminders — but moot because Gavin Grimm will soon graduate from the school system that fought him all the way to the Supreme Court and back.

Today the court granted an unopposed motion to vacate the preliminary injunction and effectively end the matter.

But before the case could fade away, Senior Judge Andre Davis provided a final signpost on Grimm’s case with an opinion concurring in the decision, joined by Judge Henry Franklin Floyd.


FILED: April 7, 2017




No. 16-1733



G. G., by his next friend and mother, Deirdre Grimm

Plaintiff - Appellee



Defendant – Appellant




Upon consideration of the unopposed motion to vacate preliminary injunction, the

court vacates the preliminary injunction entered by the district court on June 23, 2016.

Senior Judge Davis wrote a concurring opinion in which Judge Floyd joined.

Entered at the direction of Judge Floyd with the concurrence of Judge Niemeyer

and Senior Judge Davis.

For the Court

/s/ Patricia S. Connor, Clerk


DAVIS, Senior Circuit Judge, concurring:

I concur in the order granting the unopposed motion to vacate the district court’s

preliminary injunction and add these observations.

G.G., then a fifteen-year-old transgender boy, addressed the Gloucester County

School Board on November 11, 2014, to explain why he was not a danger to other students.

He explained that he had used the boys’ bathroom in public places throughout Gloucester

County and had never had a confrontation. He explained that he is a person worthy of

dignity and privacy. He explained why it is humiliating to be segregated from the general

population. He knew, intuitively, what the law has in recent decades acknowledged: the

perpetuation of stereotypes is one of many forms of invidious discrimination. And so he

hoped that his heartfelt explanation would help the powerful adults in his community come

to understand what his adolescent peers already did. G.G. clearly and eloquently attested

that he was not a predator, but a boy, despite the fact that he did not conform to some

people’s idea about who is a boy.1


Regrettably, a majority of the School Board was unpersuaded. And so we come to

this moment. High school graduation looms and, by this court’s order vacating the

preliminary injunction, G.G.’s banishment from the boys’ restroom becomes an enduring

feature of his high school experience. Would that courtesies extended to others had been

extended to G.G.

1 Footage of his compelling statement to the School Board is available at:


Our country has a long and ignominious history of discriminating against our most

vulnerable and powerless. We have an equally long history, however, of brave

individuals—Dred Scott, Fred Korematsu, Linda Brown, Mildred and Richard Loving,

Edie Windsor, and Jim Obergefell, to name just a few—who refused to accept quietly the

injustices that were perpetuated against them. It is unsurprising, of course, that the burden

of confronting and remedying injustice falls on the shoulders of the oppressed. These

individuals looked to the federal courts to vindicate their claims to human dignity, but as

the names listed above make clear, the judiciary’s response has been decidedly mixed.

Today, G.G. adds his name to the list of plaintiffs whose struggle for justice has been

delayed and rebuffed; as Dr. King reminded us, however, “the arc of the moral universe is

long, but it bends toward justice.” G.G.’s journey is delayed but not finished.

G.G.’s case is about much more than bathrooms. It’s about a boy asking his school

to treat him just like any other boy. It’s about protecting the rights of transgender people

in public spaces and not forcing them to exist on the margins. It’s about governmental

validation of the existence and experiences of transgender people, as well as the simple

recognition of their humanity. His case is part of a larger movement that is redefining and

broadening the scope of civil and human rights so that they extend to a vulnerable group

that has traditionally been unrecognized, unrepresented, and unprotected.

G.G.’s plight has shown us the inequities that arise when the government organizes

society by outdated constructs like biological sex and gender. Fortunately, the law

eventually catches up to the lived facts of people; indeed, the record shows that the


Commonwealth of Virginia has now recorded a birth certificate for G.G. that designates

his sex as male.

G.G.’s lawsuit also has demonstrated that some entities will not protect the rights of

others unless compelled to do so. Today, hatred, intolerance, and discrimination persist —

and are sometimes even promoted — but by challenging unjust policies rooted in invidious

discrimination, G.G. takes his place among other modern-day human rights leaders who

strive to ensure that, one day, equality will prevail, and that the core dignity of every one

of our brothers and sisters is respected by lawmakers and others who wield power over

their lives.

G.G. is and will be famous, and justifiably so. But he is not “famous” in the

hollowed-out Hollywood sense of the term. He is famous for the reasons celebrated by the

renowned Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shehab Nye, in her extraordinary poem,


Famous. Despite his youth and the formidable power of those arrayed against him at

every stage of these proceedings, “[he] never forgot what [he] could do.”2

Judge Floyd has authorized me to state that he joins in the views expressed herein.

2 See N. S. Nye, Famous:

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,

which knew it would inherit the earth

before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds

watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom

is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,

more famous than the dress shoe,

which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it

and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men

who smile while crossing streets,

sticky children in grocery lines,

famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,

or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,

but because it never forgot what it could do.

It was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it? That one, brief shimmering moment in time when the government was mildly interested in finding out how many LGBTQ people live in this burning hellfire of a country. When we counted, literally.

That moment is over.

From The National LGBTQ Task Force:

In this morning’s version of the Administration’s report, while it conspicuously excluded lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) people on the list of “planned subjects” for the nation’s decennial census and longer form survey, “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were included as “proposed” subjects in the appendix—indicating that data collection on these categories may have been in the works in an earlier version.

Including sexual orientation and gender identity on the 2020 Decennial Census Program would have been a major game-changer, providing an official count through both a “short-form only” census and the American Community Survey, which collects more detailed long-form data on a monthly basis. This has an enormous impact on the well-being of our community, as indicated in this statement from Meghan Maury, the Criminal and Economic Justice Project Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force:

Today, the Trump Administration has taken yet another step to deny LGBTQ people freedom, justice, and equity, by choosing to exclude us from the 2020 Census and American Community Survey. LGBTQ people are not counted on the Census—no data is collected on sexual orientation or gender identity. Information from these surveys helps the government to enforce federal laws like the Violence Against Women Act and the Fair Housing Act and to determine how to allocate resources like housing supports and food stamps. If the government doesn’t know how many LGBTQ people live in a community, how can it do its job to ensure we’re getting fair and adequate access to the rights, protections and services we need? We call on President Trump and his Administration to begin collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data on the American Community Survey as soon as possible and urge Congress to conduct oversight hearings to reveal why the Administration made the last-minute decision not to collect data on LGBTQ people.”

Way back in 2016, United States Chief Statistician Katherine Wallman told Time Magazine she was “leading the federal government’s working group on how to best gather data about sexual orientation and gender identity.” In April 2016, a bipartisan group had called on the government to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the Census, but at that time there were no plans to do so.

Up to this point, the best numbers we’ve gotten on LGBTQ community size have been through the Census’s cumbersome method of approximating numbers of same-sex couples through answers to questions about gender and relationships to other household members, and subsequent careful analysis of that data by The Williams Institute. (Basically everything we know about LGBTQ population size comes from The Williams Institute.)

The Census has been working to more accurately count same-sex couples, and as of 2014 was “testing new marriage and relationship questions on its surveys in hopes of producing more accurate numbers in the next few years.” This was to combat the apparently widespread problem of people checking the wrong gender box when answering questions about household members and other collection issues. Here’s one revision they were playing with:

The bureau was hoping to implement its revised relationship question on the 2020 Census, which could still happen — but that will ultimately require approval from the Office of Management and Budget. The current head of the OMB is Mick Mulvaney, a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, who is generally full of shit. He co-sponsored South Carolina legislation to define marriage as being between one man and one woman as well as the First Amendment Defense Act, which would undermine anti-discrimination protections for same-sex married couples. The Census Bureau, like many other Bureaus these days, isn’t sure how much funding they’ll be getting from Congress in the ensuing years to do things like trial test its methods or execute follow-up visits to non-responsive people. There are already concernsabout the accuracy of the 2020 counts in light of Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

Data collected by social scientists reveal widely disparate potential answers to the “how many gay people exist” question, a saga of confusion and sadness we’ve been following closely for the last nine years. (Not having these numbers is especially vexing to journalists!) One recent survey of young people have revealed that a majority of 13-to-20 year olds do not identify as exclusively heterosexual, which is bananas and supports our sneaking suspicion that there are tons of gay people out there and therefore everybody should care more about us. Furthermore, data on same-sex couples clearly does absolutely nothing to help us get better data on how many transgender people exist. This would be really great to know because the transgender community faces astronomical rates of poverty, victimization, abuse, homelessness, suicidality and depression, and therefore is in especially desperate need of services and programs that often rely on federal government funding. From Time Magazine:

…the true scope of [outsized hardships faced by LGBT people] can only be fleshed out by large-scale data collection—and that such information will make it a lot easier to get the resources needed to fix problems like the extremely high rates of poverty experienced by transgender people and gaps in parental rights affecting gay couples with children, particularly if the numbers have the authority of being produced by the government itself.

This news comes shortly after last week’s big news that the Department of Health & Human Services is planning to eliminate questions about sexual orientation from its National Survey of Older Americans. (One of our Senior Editors, Heather Hogan, has been working on a story about this that we’ll be publishing next week.)

Although I cannot find independent verification of this, the pro-Trump propaganda machine The Washington Times (which I refuse to link to, but here’s a screenshot) claims a Census Bureau spokesman had determined there was “no federal need” for collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity. In an alleged statement, said spokesman said:

“The Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey report released today inadvertently listed sexual orientation and gender identity as a proposed topic in the appendix. This topic is not being proposed to Congress for the 2020 Census or American Community Survey.”

This will be good news for the readers of The Washington Times, who earlier today were very concerned about Uncle Sam “prodding” you for this information.

This will be bad news for… everybody here.

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