5 LGBTQ things you need to know today, April 16

1. Late last Friday, a federal judge ruled that the U.S. military’s trans ban cannot be implemented. Judge Marsha Pechman, of the Western District of Washington, said that the second version of Trump’s March ban did not differ sufficiently from the original version, which was promulgated in July 2017. In her ruling, Pechman wrote: “The Court also rules that, because transgender people have long been subjected to systemic oppression and forced to live in silence, they are a protected class. Therefore, any attempt to exclude them from military service will be looked at with the highest level of care, and will be subject to the Court’s ‘strict scrutiny.’”

2. The remains of prominent gay rights attorney David Buckel, age 60, were found in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West early on Saturday morning. Reports suggest that Buckel lit himself on fire, self-immolating to protest fossil fuel. Buckel, who had worked at Lambda Legal, left a suicide note in a cart nearby. He also sent his note via email to media outlets (the New York Times among them). In it, Buckel wrote that “Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather.”

3. The Chinese site Weibo has pledged to remove gay and violent content from its platform over the next three months. According to Reuters, this led to an intense user backlash, including 24,000 comments, and a grassroots campaign where users posted the hashtag “I am gay.” The clampdown is an attempt by Chinese leadership to exercise power over the vibrant online youth scene.

4. The Parliament of Portugal approved a law which would make it easier for citizens to change their legal gender. People 16 years and above may alter their gender and name in various important documents without a medical report. The law was approved 109-106, out of a body of 230. Portugal passed its transgender identity law in 2011. According to PinkNews, “Malta, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium have all adopted the self-ID system of gender recognition.”

5. VIDEO OF THE DAY: The Houston-based Queer TV pilot “30” is drawing some attention. The project was derived from the Aryka Randall’s queer book “She’s Just Not That Into You.” The scripted series, which debuts on June 22, follows the adventures of three young women as they brave the challenges of turning 30.