Latrina Banks doesn’t know how much more she can take after losing a second child to gun violence over the Labor Day weekend.

First, her son Antonio was killed in 2018, and now her daughter has died after being shot and killed in Dolton.

“I’m relying on God right now to keep holding me up because it’s hard,” she cried.

Banks' daughter, 27-year-old D’isaya Monaee Smith was shot and killed at Prestige Motel in Dolton early morning on Labor Day. Banks described the crime scene as gruesome and believes her daughter struggled with the gunman.

Latrina Banks doesn’t know how much more she can take after losing a second child to gun violence over the Labor Day weekend.

First, her son Antonio was killed in 2018, and now her daughter has died after being shot and killed in Dolton.

“I’m relying on God right now to keep holding me up because it’s hard,” she cried.

Banks' daughter, 27-year-old D’isaya Monaee Smith was shot and killed at Prestige Motel in Dolton early morning on Labor Day. Banks described the crime scene as gruesome and believes her daughter struggled with the gunman.

“At the hotel room door you can tell the struggle was at the door it was not inside the hotel room,” she explained. “There’s blood, there’s like a trail of blood at the entrance way right there from the hallway area.”

Banks said her daughter Facetimed her from the motel room hours before the incident. Her daughter was out with two female friends. Banks said they told investigators Smith was too tired to go out so they left without her. They came back later to find her shot.

“Whoever knows anything about my baby’s murder please tell,” Banks cried. “Ya’ll took the best thing ever from me.”

Those who knew Smith said she had a larger than life personality. Banks said her daughter was a happy person, outspoken, and caring.

“She loved to dress, she loved to party, she loved to cook, she loved to do her hair, she loved to take care of people,” she said. “She’s been like that ever since she was little.”

Smith transitioned after graduating from high school in 2014. Family accepted and embraced her new identity, and say she was finally comfortable in her own skin. They never imagined her life would end like this.

“I really don’t know if it was a hate crime,” said Banks. “I really don’t know if it was friends that you know, envied her I don’t know, I really don’t know.”

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group has been keeping track of the number of transgender people murdered in the country since 2013. So far this year, at least 35 transgender people have been murdered. At least three from the Chicago area. The group said the deadliest year on record was last year with 44 transgender people murdered.

“People need to love on everyone, let people live, you can not change anyone’s life style,” said Banks. “If you don’t like the lifestyle walk away. You can not harass anyone, that’s not what you’re here for, let these people live.”

While the investigation is ongoing, the Dolton police chief told NBC 5, “there’s no evidence that leads to speculation of a hate crime at this point.” Regardless of the motive, Banks said no mother should have to go through the pain of losing a child for the second time.

“Everyday my baby walked out this door, she tells me she loved me and they took that away from me,” she cried. “I will never get a chance to hear her tell me she loves me.”

The South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force is helping Dolton police with the investigation.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America put in its first overtly transgender bishop in a service held in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on Saturday.

The Rev. Megan Rohrer will lead one of many church’s 65 synods, overseeing practically 200 congregations in Northern California and northern Nevada.

“My call is … to be up to the same messy, loving things I was up to before,” Rohrer advised worshippers. “But mostly, if you’ll let me, and I think you will, my hope is to love you and beyond that, to love what you love.”

Rohrer was elected in May to serve a six-year time period as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod after its present bishop introduced his retirement.

“I step into this role because a diverse community of Lutherans in Northern California and Nevada prayerfully and thoughtfully voted to do a historic thing,” Rohrer mentioned in an announcement. “My installation will celebrate all that is possible when we trust God to shepherd us forward.”

Rohrer, who makes use of the pronoun “they,” beforehand served as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and a chaplain coordinator for town’s police division, and likewise helped minister to town’s homeless and LGTBQ neighborhood. They studied faith at Augustana University of their hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, earlier than transferring to California to pursue grasp and doctoral levels on the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

Rohrer turned considered one of seven LGBTQ pastors accepted by the progressive Evangelical Lutheran church in 2010 after it allowed ordination of pastors in same-sex relationships. Rohrer is married and has two youngsters.

The church is among the largest Christian denominations within the United States with about 3.3 million members.

This story has been up to date to appropriate the title of the church. It is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, not of America.

Associated Press faith protection receives assist from the Lilly Endowment by means of The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely chargeable for this content material.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep 9, 2021--

OptumHealth Education, in partnership with OutCare Health, has launched an accredited, no-cost, and publicly available education program to teach health care professionals about the unique health care needs and disparities experienced by the LGBTQ+ community. The series is designed to promote a more equitable, affirming and supportive health care environment for LGBTQ+ people through increased provider education and understanding.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, LGBTQ+ people experience health disparities linked to social stigma and discrimination 1. Studies have found that an estimated 8% of lesbian, gay and bisexual patients, and almost 27% of transgender patients, have reported being denied health care services 2.

The program is an on-demand, publicly available webcast on at no cost, and is eligible for continuing education credits. The series identifies the negative effects that implicit bias, stigma and discrimination can have on the mental and physical health of those in the LGBTQ+ community; discusses the appropriate pronouns and terminology to use in respectful communication with members of the LGBTQ+ community; covers the specific and unique health-related risks and disparities that are experienced by the LGBTQ+ community; and identifies how to create a health care environment in which members of the LGBTQ+ community can feel validated, welcome and safe to discuss health issues.

Future modules starting in fall 2021 will offer more in-depth provider-focused education around the unique health care needs of specific populations within the LGBTQ+ community, such as caring for transgender patients.

In conjunction with the education, Optum created PRIDE365+, a website that provides resources to educate and support LGBTQ+ community members and allies in creating open, safe and respectful working and living environments. PRIDE365+ includes a resource guide, an LGBTQ+ terminology and pronoun guide, a transgender support guide, and a “How to be an Ally” guide, along with informational content from Optum partner Trans Lifeline, a grassroots nonprofit 501(c)(3) offering emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis.

“LGBTQ+ people face a number of unique challenges and barriers when it comes to their health and well-being. Many of these barriers are rooted in discrimination, stigma and a simple lack of awareness and knowledge,” said Dr. Amy Nguyen Howell, Optum senior national medical director, Office for Provider Advancement. “We launched this educational series as part of our commitment to advancing health equity and improving the health care experience for everyone we serve.”

Caring for the LGBTQ+ Community: An Introduction, was developed in partnership with OutCare Health, a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) LGBTQ+ health equity organization, which offers directories of providers and public resources, mentorship, webinars, blogs, research and cultural competency trainings.

“We’re proud to launch this educational series with OptumHealth Education and Optum, and to address these disparities head-on,” said OutCare Health Founder and President Dr. Dustin Nowaskie. “Working with one of the leading health care services companies in the United States to design this training means we can reach more providers and make a meaningful impact on the barriers LGBTQ+ people experience within the health care system.”

Caring for the LGBTQ+ Community: An Introduction, is offered by OptumHealth Education, an organization dedicated to providing interprofessional continuing education that improves patient outcomes and positively affects the delivery of health care. OptumHealth Education is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, and the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

For more information or to sign up for the educational series, please visit

Hate crimes based on sexual orientation dipped slightly last year, but crimes based on bias against trans and gender-nonconforming people continued to increase, new FBI data suggest. 
The Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s Hate Crime Statistics 2020 report the epidemic of violence against transgender Americans  found that 7,759 hate crime incidents were reported last year, up by 6 percent from 7,314 incidents in 2019. 

Although reports of hate crime incidents based on anti-LGBTQ bias were down overall, from 1,393 in 2019 to 1,287 in 2020, reports of incidents motivated by gender-identity bias jumped by nearly 20 percent for the second year in a row

Law enforcement agencies reported 1,051 hate crime incidents motivated by sexual orientation last year, down from 1,195 in 2019. Hate crime incidents motivated by gender identity increased from 198 in 2019 to 236 in 2020.

Although hate crime incidents motivated by anti-trans bias appear to be increasing, advocates have said government data often don’t tell the full story. 

Anecdotally, trans people have reported facing bias-motivated violence much more often. Advocates have said the discrepancy between FBI data and trans people’s lived experiences is a common theme when it comes to data collection on LGBTQ people.

Of the 27,715 trans adults surveyed by the National Center for Transgender Equality in the summer of 2015, nearly half (46 percent) reported that they were verbally harassed in the previous year, and nearly 1 in 10 (9 percent) said they were physically attacked in the previous year for being transgender. 

This year is also on track to be the deadliest on record for transgender people, with at least 35 trans and gender-nonconforming people having been killed so far — most of them Black trans women — according to the Human Rights Campaign. At this time last year, at least 29 trans people had been killed, according to the group. Advocates say the estimates are low, as law enforcement agencies often use trans people’s birth names, also known as their deadnames, and their sexes assigned at birth in reports of their deaths.

The number of hate crime incidents reported by the FBI is also likely to be low for a number of other reasons, advocates say.

“This data is critical, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of anti-transgender violence," Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in an emailed statement. "Many transgender people do not feel comfortable or safe reporting crime to the police. In fact, according to our U.S. Transgender Survey, more than half (57%) of respondents said they would feel uncomfortable asking the police for help if they needed it."

Heng-Lehtinen said concern about interacting with police is greater among transgender people of color, with with 67 percent of Black trans people, 59 percent of Latino/a trans people and 59 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native trans people reporting discomfort turning to the police.

2013 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs also found that less than half (45 percent) of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV who experienced violence reported their incidents to police, in part because of past experiences of police hostility and mistreatment.

Law enforcement agencies also collect, categorize and submit hate crime data voluntarily.

A 2018 report from the Human Rights Campaign found that no state has a comprehensive law that requires all government-funded data collection efforts to include sexual orientation and gender identity data with other demographic data, such as race, ethnicity and sex.

Four states — New York, California, Oregon and New Jersey — and Washington, D.C., have narrower laws that require LGBTQ-inclusive data collection in some areas other than hate crimes.

Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C., require law enforcement agencies to collect and report data on hate crimes based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, the report found.

In addition, the FBI report doesn’t provide details about how LGBTQ people of color are uniquely affected by violence; research shows that they report facing more violence than white LGBTQ people. 

The report does indicate that incidents motivated by anti-Black and anti-Asian bias increased significantly. Specifically, it found that the number of incidents motivated by anti-Black bias rose from 1,930 in 2019 to 2,755 last year and that incidents motivated by anti-Asian bias jumped from 158 to 274. 

Advocates have recently called for more comprehensive federal data collection related to sexual orientation and gender identity so they can help suggest better policy solutions that account for the rising fatal violence against Black trans women and hate violence against all LGBTQ people.

In June, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., reintroduced a bill to improve collection of data about sexual orientation and gender identity in violent crimes and suicides.

“The epidemic of violence against transgender Americans — particularly transgender women of color — is only getting worse,” Maloney said in a statement at the time. “HRC has been tracking the underreported data since 2013, and Congress still hasn’t acted to enable local law enforcement to do the same.”

NORFOLK, Va. — A school board in Virginia has agreed to pay $1.3 million in legal costs to the American Civil Liberties Union after the nonprofit spent six years representing a student who sued over the board's transgender bathroom ban. 

Gavin Grimm's suit against the Gloucester County School Board ended in June after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the board's appeal to reinstate its bathroom policy. 

Lower courts ruled that the board's policy was unconstitutional and discriminated against Grimm because he was required to use restrooms that corresponded with his biological sex — female — or private bathrooms. He was barred from the boy's facilities in high school. 

The board agreed to the pay the ACLU's legal costs in a filing made in a U.S. District Court in Norfolk on Thursday.

Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in a statement that "it should not have taken over six years of expensive litigation to get to this point." 

Grimm, who is now 22, said in a statement that he hopes "this outcome sends a strong message to other school systems that discrimination is an expensive, losing battle."

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