Judge blocks Arkansas trans healthcare ban, Estonia may legalize same-sex marriage, federal court protects discrimination against queer people, Spanish town bans LGBTQ+ flag, Italy looks to cancel birth certificates of lesbian couples

5 queer and trans stories we’re watching: June 21

Hey y’all! Happy Wednesday. Take a break from the mid-week slump with the top queer and trans stories today. 

1. Federal judge blocks Arkansas ban on gender-affirming care for minors
2.  Estonia could make history as first post-Soviet state to legalize same-sex marriage
3. Federal court rules that Christian-owned business is exempt from federal employment law protecting LGBTQ2S+ people
4. Spanish town bans LGBTQ+ flag after far-right party comes to power
5. Italian prosecutor calls for birth certificates for children of lesbian couples to be cancelled

1. Federal judge blocks Arkansas ban on gender-affirming care for minors

On Tuesday, a federal judge permanently blocked the Arkansas 2021 law barring trans youth from receiving gender-affirming care. This is the first ruling coming out of a federal court to outright ban one of the many laws prohibiting trans healthcare for minors, and the case was seen as a test as to whether or not such bans could hold up under challenges from civil rights groups. In his 80-page decision, Judge James M. Moody wrote that the law violated doctors’ constitutional rights and discriminated against trans people. 

“Rather than protecting children or safeguarding medical ethics, the evidence showed that the prohibited medical care improves the mental health and well-being of patients and that by prohibiting it, the state undermined the interests it claims to be advancing,” Moody wrote.

The move is the latest in a series of several decisive rulings from judges striking down anti-trans healthcare bans in states like Florida and Indiana

2.  Estonia could make history as first post-Soviet state to legalize same-sex marriage

Estonia will vote early next week on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage; if passed, the country would become the first post-Soviet state to do so. The move follows other legal wins for LGBTQ+ Estonians, including legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples in 2014—still, even that fell short of full equality, denying same-sex couples the adoption and parental rights that come with marriage. 

“Accepting marriage equality is the last milestone on Estonia’s pathway to a truly open and equal society and European values, shaking off the last shackles of its tragic past of Soviet regime and repressions,” Vootele Päi, an independent political analyst, told Openly

 

3. Federal court rules that Christian-owned business is exempt from federal employment law protecting LGBTQ2S+ people

A three-judge panel in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled on Tuesday that a Christian-owned wellness center cannot be sued by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over its policy discriminating against gay and trans employees. The wellness center, owned by Braidwood Management, had sued the EEOC after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, which said that employment bias against queer people was illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This ruling only applies to Braidwood, however, since the court reversed Judge Reed O’Connor’s earlier ruling that Braidwood could bring this as a class-action lawsuit for other religious businesses. 

4. Spanish town bans LGBTQ+ flag after far-right party comes to power

After recently voting in the far-right party Vox in local elections, the eastern Spanish town Náquera is banning the LGBTQ+ flag from public buildings. The party posted on its local Facebook page a pact that it made with the mainstream conservative party, which listed the policies the new mayor Ivan Exposito and his allies hoped to fulfill during his four-year term. Along with the ban on LGBTQ+ flags in public buildings, the party also writes that they want to rename campaigns against violence against women into “campaigns against all violence.” 

5. Italian prosecutor calls for birth certificates for children of lesbian couples to be cancelled

A state prosecutor in Padua on Monday has called for the birth certificates of 33 children of lesbian couples to be cancelled and the non-biological mother removed. The move comes months after Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s far-right government demanded that city councils stop recognizing the children of same-sex couples. A court will hear the prosecutor’s demands later this year, and if the non-biological mother is removed from the birth certificate, she will no longer be able to do a host of things for her child, including picking them up from school without her legal parent’s permission. Moreover, if the legal parent dies, the child could be taken from their home and become a ward of the state. 

“These children are being orphaned by decree,” the center-left parliamentarian Alessandro Zan told Reuters. “This is a cruel, inhumane decision,” he added.

🌈Bonus good news (because we need it)🌈 

Heritage Toronto has announced a new plaque honoring Jackie Shane—the trailblazing trans soul and R&B singer who helped shape and define Toronto’s music scene!

Learn more about the icon in her recent Heritage Minute!

Jackie Richardson is a freelance writer based in Western New York. She has worked at The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, and The Sophian.

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