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North Carolina OK's LGBTQ+ Vanity License Plates

Motorists in North Carolina can request personalized license plates that include terms related to the LGBTQ+ community after more than 200 previously forbidden terms were removed from the state’s Do Not Issue list.License plates with the words “GAYPRIDE,” “LESBIAN,” and “QUEER” were previously not available to purchase, public radio station WFDD reports.However, for the first time in twenty years, the state’s department of motor vehicles reviewed its policies on forbidden words at the direction of DMV Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, according to the station.Initially, a team from the department’s vehicle services division reviewed the list. Then, after identifying entries as questionable, they referred them to a committee of communications and legal staffers from the Department of Transportation and the Office of Civil Rights.

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Brooklyn Judge Who Made Racist, Homophobic Comments Agrees to Resign
A New York judge who was facing an upcoming hearing to consider whether she had engaged in misconduct has resigned from the bench.Last Friday, Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court Judge Harriet L. Thompson, 67, gave notice to New York’s top administrative judge in a letter that she would retire from the court on March 1, the New York Times reports.A condition of her resignation agreement was that she would not seek or accept any judicial positions in the future and would discontinue any litigation she had initiated against the Judicial Conduct Commission.There was to be a hearing on the charges on January 17.The commission administrator, Robert Tembeckian, released a statement regarding Thompson’s resignation. “The conduct charged against Judge Thompson was egregious and, if established at trial, would have warranted her removal from office,” he wrote.“She now claims a medical condition prevents her from performing judicial duties, which opens a different path in furtherance of the public interest for her immediate and permanent departure from the bench.”Thompson’s troubles have been working themselves through the review process.A senior New York judge wrote in a filing that Thompson said that “being gay is an abomination to mankind” and that Hispanic people had a “deceitful trait that goes way back to biblical times.”An affidavit last year included anti-LGBTQ+ language attributed to Thompson.“I hate these gay white men,” she said before going on that “gay racist f-a--ts ...
George Santos Appears to Flash White Power Symbol on House Floor
Instead of keeping a low profile after admitting to lying about significant portions of his biography, New York Republican Congressman-elect George Santos has put himself front-and-center in photos from the floor of the House of Representatives, including one in which he appears to flash a white power symbol.On Thursday evening, the incoming lawmaker gestured as he stood to cast a vote for Kevin McCarthy in the tenth round of votes for Speaker of the House.Waiting to be called, the incoming lawmaker stood in the aisle of the House chamber listening for his name to be called for the tenth time.“Santos,” the clerk called out.With his right hand raised and his left hand across his midsection, he made a sideways “OK” gesture by making his index finger and thumb meet. Rep.-elect George Santos making what appears to be a white power gesture while voting on the floor of the House of Representatives.“McCarthy,” Santos said, revealing the gesture briefly as he waved his other hand before turning around, walking away, and moving both hands back down to his sides.C-Span video of the incident shows that Santos had pre-positioned his hand along his body in an unusual way to create the gesture.Far-right extremists, mainly white supremacists, have coopted the gesture to symbolize a “W” and “P” for white power, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The Southern Poverty Law Center also categorizes the gesture as a white power gesture but explains that on the right, the gesture is often used to troll liberals.Because the gesture is similar to the innocuous “OK” symbol, context matters, the hate-group monitoring group says.When groups like the Proud Boys and Patriot Front conduct their activities, they have been photographed flashing
Man Arrested For Making Terroristic Threats Against LGBTQ+ Community
A man in Nebraska has been arrested on charges of making terroristic threats against the LGBTQ+ community.Michael Nicewonder, 34, allegedly made a bomb threat against Lincoln LGBTQ+ bar Das Haus in December 2021 and threatened two gay Pride events in Lincoln and Kearney in May of this year, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.Police began investigating him this spring.Using the pseudonym "Michael Lewis," Nicewonder ran a Facebook account from which authorities seized more than 2170 pages of records, according to court records. After becoming aware of his communications, police began investigating Nicewonder in May. During their investigation, authorities swept the bar, looking for explosives, but they discovered none.Nicewonder, a twice-convicted sex offender, appears to have a grievance with the local LGBTQ+ community.The Journal Star reports that he had indicated that he was barred from going to Pride events and participating in a pageant at the bar because of his registration status."You have shunned away a man, a drag queen, from the community for being labeled as a sex offender," he allegedly wrote to the Kearney PFLAG chapter's Facebook account. Nicewonder was convicted of sex crimes involving children in Nebraska in 2013 and 2020, the state's sex offender registry shows. "I've been performing in drag since having this label," Nicewonder allegedly wrote on the Facebook page.
LGBTQ+ Soccer Fans Should 'Be Respectful' in Qatar, Says U.K. Official
(CNN) — British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is receiving backlash for suggesting gay soccer fans should be "respectful" in Qatar when attending the FIFA World Cup set to take place in the Gulf Arab state later this year.Speaking to LBC Radio on Wednesday, Cleverly said he had spoken with authorities in Qatar -- where homosexuality is criminalized -- who "want to make sure that football fans are safe, secure and enjoy themselves."He continued: "And they know that that means they are going to have to make some compromises in terms of what is an Islamic country, with a very different set of cultural norms to our own."One of the things I would say to the football fans is, you know: 'Please do be respectful of the host nation.'"They [Qatar] will try -- they are trying -- to ensure that people can be themselves and enjoy the football and I think with a little bit of flex and compromise at both ends, it can be a safe, secure and exciting World Cup," the foreign secretary added.New UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesman distanced themselves from the comments, saying, "We wouldn't expect [LGBTQ fans] to compromise who they are and you'll know the UK has very clear rules around this. Qatar's policies are not those of the UK government and not ones that we would endorse."Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell of UK's main opposition Labour party slammed Cleverly's comments, calling it "shockingly tone deaf" in a tweet."Where do you draw the line on that?" she said in an interview with LBC Radio.