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Online Extra: Gays Across America: California AG seeks to join case against trans ban

by Seth Hemmelgarn

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is asking to intervene on the state's behalf in Equality California's federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military.

In his motion in Stockman v. Trump, Becerra seeks to protect the state and its estimated 92,000 trans residents from Trump's "patently discriminatory" policy.

"We must honor the service and sacrifice of all members of our military by fighting for them when their rights are attacked," Becerra said in a news release. "California will not allow President Trump's illegal, discriminatory, and un-American actions to harm our people or our military. Marginalizing transgender service members or any transgender American who wishes to serve our country faithfully and courageously will not occur on our watch."

EQCA Executive Director Rick Zbur said in a statement, "California is home to the largest LGBTQ population and military population in the country. We cannot stand idly by while the federal government attempts to discriminate against loyal, patriotic, and brave members of the transgender community."

Becerra argues that the ban would hurt the California National Guard's ability to recruit and retain members and force the state to violate anti-discrimination laws, among other issues.

California's governor serves as the state National Guard's commander in chief and depends on it during emergencies like the recent wildfires that killed dozens of people, destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, and burned thousands of acres, backers of the anti-Trump lawsuits noted in a news release.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, which won a preliminary injunction against the anti-trans ban in another case, Doe v. Trump, are serving as co-counsel in the Stockman lawsuit.

"The state of California recognizes that Trump's discriminatory ban harms not only transgender service members and our military, but also those who rely on our National Guard for emergency assistance," stated NCLR legal director Shannon Minter. "This point is particularly critical in California, which has been facing unprecedented wildfire devastation. We need to embrace every qualified person who is willing to serve, not turn people away simply for being transgender."

Jennifer Levi, who directs GLAD's Transgender Rights Project, said, "For the attorney general to take this step sends a powerful message about the gravity of the harm caused by this ban. We should be embracing the contributions of dedicated, courageous Americans who are serving and want to serve. Blocking qualified transgender Americans from serving makes our military weaker and our nation less safe and less fair."

The state seeks to join the Stockman lawsuit by November 20, when the U.S. District Court of Central California is expected to hear arguments.

Role-playing show set to air
A new web series featuring a group of gay men who get together in the back of a local comics store for role-playing games is set to air next year.

In a recent Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, the creators of "The Invincible Bunch" said, "Often, when we think of how gay people are represented in the media we, think of shows like 'Looking' and 'Fire Island.' We think of abs, Speedos, parties, and drama."

But in a phone interview, creator Claude Edwards, a gay 41-year-old New Yorker who played Dungeons and Dragons and similar games when he was a pre-teen, said he wanted "to do a show about a diverse group of guys who are playing something nerd-centric without it being something that makes fun of nerds."

He also wanted to show a group of people who "are all drawn together for one thing," but have different ethnicities, ages, and sizes.

"I really wanted it to be a diverse group of people who are all in the same situation" and work together to solve problems "but have different viewpoints," said Edwards.

For more information about the series, go to

Gays Across America is a column addressing LGBTQ issues nationwide. It runs most Tuesdays, but will be on break until December 5. Please submit comments or column ideas to Seth Hemmelgarn at (415) 875-9986 or


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