Haters honk at Pete during Connecticut visit
Secretary Buttigieg brushed off noise to focus on millions in federal infrastructure funding, a school board elected a trans woman as president, and where in the world is the most anti-LGBT city?
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You’ll find my story about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s visit to Connecticut right after everything you need to know to start the day. Here now the news:
The story everyone’s talking about
McCARTHY CAVES AGAIN, SAYS CNN: After two days and six ballots, wanna-be Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is giving in once again to the far-right Republican cabal that has prevented the House of Representatives from doing the business the American people elected them to do. CNN reported overnight that McCarthy has agreed to change the rules so that only one member of the House can call for a vote to oust the Speaker. At present, the rules require half of the GOP to call for such a vote. And that’s not McCarthy’s only concession in hopes he’ll gain enough support when the House reconvenes at noon EST today.
House Held Hostage: Day 3
WAITING GAME: Until a Speaker is elected, the newly-elected representatives and even the returning veteran lawmakers cannot be sworn-in. Today marks Day 3 of the 118th Congress basically being held hostage. When something similar to this happened in 1865, members of the House weren’t seated for months. Please, God, no.
If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a reference to the meme that all started with a tweet:
From Goldberg’s essay: “McCarthy’s Republican opponents are right in surmising that he believes in nothing and will yield under pressure; the evidence is his inability to stand up to them. His mistake was convincing himself that a party obsessed with dominance would reward submission.” Oh, and for those wondering about the “Headless Body” headline — the most famous newspaper headline of all time — it appeared on page one of the New York Post on April 15, 1983, and was the creation of the late Vincent Musetto.
THEY’RE QUEER, GET USED TO IT: Four of the new members of the U.S. House are LGBTQ+. Click here to read the story from LGBTQNation.
HISTORY IN WEHO: Sepi Shyne, the first out LGBTQ Iranian elected anywhere globally and the first woman of color elected to the West Hollywood City Council, is to be sworn-in as mayor of West Hollywood, Calif. today, as the Los Angeles Blade reports.
BOLD CHOICE IN NEW JERSEY: The Daily Record reports Daniella Mendez, who is believed to be the first out transgender woman serving on a municipal board of education in New Jersey, was elected president of the school board in Dover, N.J.. Mendez, 34, has been a school board member since 2021. She was elected by a unanimous vote.
STATE OF EMERGENCY: As Axios reported overnight, a major storm is pummelling the state with heavy rains and hurricane-force winds and has already triggered orders for residents in the most threatened areas to evacuate. Widespread power outages and school closures are being reported throughout the state. Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency Wednesday. See photos of this catastrophe underway by clicking here.
World News This Morning
UP THE IRISH: The Republic of Ireland, which was the first in the world to approve marriage equality by popular vote, is taking steps to outlaw conversion therapy this year, joining only a handful of nations that include Canada. Details in the Washington Blade.
MAYOR DECLARES HIS CITY IS “ANTI-LGBT:” The city of Medan, in the capital of Indonesia’s North Sumatra province, has been declared “anti-LGBT” by its mayor, Muhammad Bobby Afif Nasution, according to Pink News. He was reported to be reacting to seeing male couples celebrating New Year’s Eve. There are already two other provinces in Indonesia where same-sex relationships are against the law, and I told you in Tuesday’s RiseUP newsletter, that Indonesia has enacted a law banning sex outside marriage, which is anticipated to result in new crackdowns on LGBTQ citizens as well as tourists.
RACE AND GENDER STUDY: The Pew Research Center says their research shows Black Democrats differ from other Democrats in their views on gender identity and transgender issues, to the point where they more closely align with Republicans. Here are some of the key findings:
Around two-thirds of Black Democrats (66%) say that whether someone is a man or woman is determined by their sex at birth.
By contrast, 72% of White Democrats, 61% of Asian Democrats and 54% of Hispanic Democrats say that someone can be a man or woman even if that is different from their sex at birth.
Around four-in-ten Black Democrats (37%) say their religious views have a great deal or fair amount of influence on their views about whether someone’s gender can differ from their sex at birth.
Black Democrats are less likely than White, Hispanic and Asian Democrats to favor or strongly favor policies that protect transgender people from discrimination in jobs, housing and public spaces, as well as policies that require health insurance companies to cover medical care for gender transitions.
Black Democrats are more likely than other Democrats to favor certain other policies. For example, around a third of Black Democrats (34%) favor or strongly favor requiring transgender people to use public bathrooms that match their sex at birth. Support for such policies is lower among White (14%), Asian (20%) and Hispanic Democrats (24%). Read the full report by clicking here.
All the Bigotry Unfit to Print
OUTRAGE: The Advocate reports The New York Times has platformed an anti-LGBTQ+ columnist, David French, a former National Review editor who was once an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group labeled an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. After The Times announced French’s hire on Tuesday, claiming he was “an expert on the law, faith and politics.,” the LGBTQ+ media advocacy group GLAAD responded yesterday by denouncing the hire and French’s “deep history of anti-LGBTQ activism.” GLAAD’s president and CEO, Sara Kate Ellis noted The Times already has an anti-LGBTQ+ columnist, Pamela Paul, who was hired after the newspaper ended its relationship with acclaimed trans writer, scholar and author Jennifer Finney Boylan last year.
Speaking of Jenny Boylan…
HISTORIC BESTSELLER: Mad Honey, the wonderful novel co-authored by the aforementioned Boylan and Jodi Picoult, now stands at number four on The New York Times’ bestseller list, which it has been climbing for 13 weeks. Boylan says she believes it be the first book co-written by someone trans to achieve such a feat. You can find out about the novel and its authors here.
FIRST OFFICIAL ACT: Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) on Tuesday signed an executive order to strengthen worker protections for LGBTQ+ state employees and contractors. The Hill reports her executive order expressly prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. “Today marks a new era in Arizona, where my Administration will work to build an Arizona for everyone,” Hobbs said in a statement.
WAS IT A PROTEST AGAINST PETE? A noisy demonstration occurred Wednesday during a news conference in New London, Conn. to announce the awarding of millions in federal infrastructure funding for the state’s largest bridge. Gov. Ned Lamont, U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, among others joined dozens of union workers to welcome U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to the foot of the Gold Star Memorial Bridge, which spans New London and Groton, Conn. The photo below captured the moment that Buttigieg stepped up to the microphone to speak. That’s when he was interrupted by the blaring sound of a car alarm from about 50-feet away, just behind the crowd.
Then another car alarm sounded, followed by one or two more. Although some in the crowd turned to look, Buttigieg stuck to his remarks and didn’t hesitate for a moment. He kept speaking about the $158 million grant provided by the bipartisan bill passed by Congress last year and signed into law by President Biden. This bridge, opened in 1941, is one of four in the nation to receive the desperately needed funding so that commerce to and from other parts of New England can flow at full capacity and safely.
Within a few seconds, the alarms were silenced one by one by whomever had set them off. As one New London police officer told me, he had no doubt this was a deliberate act, meant to send a message of some kind to Buttigieg, who is the first out gay cabinet official confirmed by the Senate in U.S. history.
During a one-on-one interview following the news conference, I asked the secretary about the car alarm demonstration, and whether it bothered him to hear them as he started to deliver his message about the bridge funding: “No,” Buttigieg told me, “This can be a noisy business sometimes. I’m not that worried about it.” We covered some other issues as well, including family life and whether he’s ruled out another political campaign.
He also told me before the news conference, he stopped in a local shop for some authentic New England clam chowder. Before departing for Washington, D.C., he said he was sad he wouldn’t be home in time to help his husband Chasten put their babies to bed. Today, he’ll be back at The White House attending the first Cabinet meeting of the year.
One on One with Secretary Pete Buttigieg
The secretary kindly agreed to pose for a photo with my photographer Dan LeRoy and me following our interview. I’ll share my chat with Buttigieg after it airs on the next episode of CT Voice OutLoud on WTNH-TV. There will also be a print article in CT Voice Magazine, which is available online as well as by mail. Click here for subscription details.
And thank you for subscribing to RiseUP with Dawn Ennis. I’ll be back tomorrow with another newsletter. Until then, may your news be good news!
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