Danica Roem

5 LGBT things you need to know today, Jan. 11

1. Human Rights Campaign has released its annual State Equality Index, which ranks the states on LGBT issues based on 2017 legislation. Georgia was in the lowest-rated category, “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality,” along with 26 other states, including neighbors Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

2. Danica Roem was sworn in yesterday to the Virginia General Assembly, clutching a rainbow headscarf, becoming the first openly transgender state lawmaker to serve in the United States.

3. A breakthrough double-testing procedure will enable gay and bisexual men in Israel to donate blood with no waiting period after sex, just like heterosexual blood donors. In the United States, gay men were restricted altogether from donating from 1985-2015, when the FDA agreed to permit gay men who had been celibate for 12 months to donate.

4. In the upcoming NBC show “Rise,” a character is being rewritten as straight so the show’s creator, Jason Katims, can better “connect” with him. Katims says the character is based on his real-life closeted drama teacher, who didn’t come out until later in life. Critics accuse the creator of “straight-washing” the show.

5. VIDEO OF THE DAY: “Empire” star Jussie Smollett’s “Freedom” video is an ode to black lesbian love.

Freedom by Jussie Smollett on VEVO.