News Fix: Eric Garner’s Family Says $5.9M Settlement Isn’t a Victory and More News Stories

Hey gazelles! I was traveling yesterday so that’s why this is super late and abbreviated! Anyways, I hope you still love me because I love you and here’s some news for you.

+ Last week, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch made it official and announced married same-sex couples are now allowed to receive the same federal benefits all legally married couples get. Her office is working with impacted agencies to provide guidance on implementing the new changes.

+ Sen. Michael Bennet reintroduced a bill known as the LGBT Elder Americans Act today which intends to make additional resources available for LGBT elders. It would build upon the Older Americans Act and designate LGBT elders as a vulnerable population and establish a national resource center for them. Bennet said:

“As baby boomers continue to age, it’s important that we understand the unique needs of this diverse generation. For LGBT seniors, questions about health care and financial issues can be particularly difficult without a trustworthy advocate to help guide them through these challenging decisions. And now, with full marriage equality thankfully the law of the land, many older LGBT couples have additional planning decisions to make. This bill will help aging service organizations assist older LGBT adults and their caregivers. Above all, it will provide LGBT seniors and their families the peace of mind that their best interests are being considered.”

+ The Pentagon is set to lift a ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military, possibly announcing it this week. It’s estimated that 15,000 transgender individuals serve in the military and often in secret. The AP reports the military would have a six month transitional period “to determine the impact and work out details.”

+ In an unprecedented step, Sports Illustrated is giving every member of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and their coach Jill Ellis their own cover. That’s 25 covers of badass World-Cup-winning women athletes! They hit the stands July 15.

+ Jonathan Sanders, an unarmed black man, was allegedly strangled by a white policeman last week in Stonewall, Mississippi.

+ A Georgia immigration judge denied a Mexican trans woman’s asylum petition for the second time saying “she failed to demonstrate that the cause of the abuse was her gender identity.”

+ The executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America approved a resolution to lift the organization’s ban on gay adult leaders but it comes with a catch. The organization is leaving it up to individual units to set their own policy on gay adult leaders, which would allow units sponsored by religious organizations to continue the ban. The resolution will become policy if ratified by their National Executive Board in a meeting happening July 27.


Al Sharpton with members of Eric Garner’s family.

+ New York City reached a $5.9 million settlement with Eric Garner’s family for a wrongful death claim over his killing by a police officer on Staten Island nearly a year ago. Eric Garner’s family says this isn’t a victory. The Chicago Tribune reports:

“The victory will come when we get justice,” Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said a day after the $5.9 million settlement was announced.

“Justice,” added one of Garner’s children, Emerald Snipes, “is when somebody is held accountable for what they do.”

+ The FBI reports a background check flaw allowed Dylann Roof to purchase a firearm which was used to kill 9 people at a historically Black church in South Carolina. The New York Times reports, “Despite having previously admitted to drug possession, the man, Dylann Roof, 21, was allowed to buy the .45-caliber handgun because of mistakes by F.B.I. agents, a failure by local prosecutors to respond to a bureau request for more information about his case, and a weakness in federal gun laws.”

+ People are cool with Bernie Sanders being a socialist. They’re also feeling a bit more comfortable with the word “socialist.”


by Eric Risberg/Associated Press

+ Reddit CEO Ellen Pao resigned from her position on Friday after being ousted by thousands of Reddit users. Katherine Cross over at Feministing explains:

“Two issues, more than any other, set the stage for the scapegoating of Pao: her unsuccessful gender discrimination lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and her forthright anti-harassment initiatives on Reddit. Outspoken women, especially non-white women like Pao, are instant targets if they publicly acknowledge the existence of prejudice, worse still if they purport to do something about it. Even a cursory glance at the invective against Pao reveals deep-seated antipathy about the lawsuit, casting Pao as an evil money-grubber using feminist ideas to ruin peoples’ lives and mask her own incompetence. In other words, one of the most popular stock characters in the misogynist imagination.”

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Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.


  1. Well, that was a mix of excellent and horrifying news.

    Loretta Lynch: getting it done.

  2. *sigh* can there be any greater example of black/white criminal treatment disparity than Dylan Roof…he gets a private jet, a ‘mistaken’ background check and not a scratch on him..but Freddie Gray doesn’t even make it to the goddamn police station without a fatal spinal cord injury?

  3. All the coverage about Ellan Pao and Reddit is really depressing but vindicating of my utter loathing for that platform.

    • I read the comments on a Reddit post about Ellen Pao and it’s probably the worst decision I’ve made all month.

      • A friend of mine who is a redditor was telling me about it and how he thinks she’s a terrible person and everything he was saying sounded like this whole thing is misogynistic. But I was very uninformed. And don’t care about reddit at all so didn’t learn more. But hearing this was very validating. And annoying. Thank you!

    • I wish the whole internet was as safe and feminist as Autostraddle. It’s sad that women are constantly harassed online, specifically Reddit and YouTube.

  4. The Boy Scout news made me so frustrated yesterday I couldn’t sleep. Everyone on my social media (majority Girl Scouts) were celebrating it as a “huge step!!!” I don’t buy it. It’s a baby step that looks good and gets them positive media attention instead of negative.

    It doesn’t even really change anything… It just means the councils that were already accepting gay leaders arent rebels anymore, and the ones that don’t accept gay leaders will be able to continue their discrimination in the name of whatever organization they’re tied to.

    It’s the national organization saying “we don’t think you should ban gay leaders, but we’re not going to stop you.”

    Someone at my local Boy Scout council tried to argue me that point on my boss’s Facebook page (of all places) saying Boy Scouts will support any LGBT person that gets banned due to an associated organization, but HOW? Really what are they going to do? Tell the person to move somewhere where the council is chartered by a Methodist church instead of Roman Catholic?

    Thanks for letting me rant, Autostraddle. I wanted so badly to write all of this last night but couldn’t risk much on Facebook.

    • I’m not even sure it says the national org (inactively) opposes discrimination, just that they won’t demand it any more.

  5. Thanks for posting these quick rundown of note-worthy news. It’s just enough to know what is going on without being immersed in the hate sometime attached to some of these stories.

  6. Not related at all with this news, but if somebody wants to buy Lesvos Island (Sappho’s homeland) now it’s a good time to make an offer.

    After Greece’s new deal with the Troika, I think the whole country is up for sale.

    PD: Yes, I have a nasty sense of humor. And although the island is known as Lesbos in english, Lesvos is the greek name.

      • Try and make a similar comment, of the same “nasty sense of humour” you pride yourself of, about queer people or people of colour on this website and see how that will be greeted.
        Coming here for some solace from all the fascism and hatred directed towards my country from everywhere else on the web these last weeks only to find the same kind of condescension. From people that regard themselves welcoming and kind, this hurts even more.
        I demand an apology.

        • I sincerely apologized for offended you with my comment. That was not my intention.

          I want to say that I was talking from my own experience, not ignorance.

          I never thought I would see the day when these policies would reach a place like Europe. Greece was humiliated and stripped of its sovereignty by the Troika. The same happened with my country.

          I live in a region of the world where the IMF use this kind of deals (how can you call this a deal or agreement when you have a gun to your head its amazing) all the time for more than 20 years (starting in the late 70’s through all the 90’s).

          Through the 90’s Argentina privatized almost all its public assets: airports, telecommunications companies, trains, several public roads and all our highways, our national airline, our national oil and gas company; water, electricity and domestic gas supply; our national post office, almost all our public banks, even our retirement and pension system. All these are just a few examples, the list is long and I can’t type all that without having an ulcer.

          The promise was always the same: sell, privatized, make concessions with all your country’s assets, and you will see your debt go down; deregulate all, including labor, and more jobs will come.

          Of course, that never happened.

          In the end, the State raises money only through taxes, because you don’t have an alternative way of founding. But taxes are not enough, because huge numbers of unemployed people don’t pay many taxes and the rich are not subjected to progressive taxes (that was always a big no no from the IMF, because according to them it discourages investment). So what do you do now? Easy, increase your debt by asking for more money to pay the money you owe.

          This is a vicious/toxic cycle without a happy ending.

          Once again, I apologized and I do hope that your country can find a way to avoid this agreement because that’s in the best interest of the Greek people.

          • Thanks for the apology. I appreciate your experience and I know a lot of Argentinians are in favour of the Greek cause and a lot of Greeks hold Argentina as an example for what we should do.
            The people in Greece know the facts you’re mentioning and this is why we voted against the austerity measures at the referendum by a landslide. However, Germany and the neoliberalist lobby of bankers and technocrats conducted what amounts to a coup against Greek and European democracy.
            This is why they should be the ones that are the butt of every joke, not Greece and its people.
            The people, and first and foremost the vulnerable LGBT and immigrant populations, are the ones who are suffering and have their lives and hopes crushed by what is happening. They should never be laughed at.

  7. Think Ellen Pao is a strong feminist figure? Ask her why during her tenure as Reddit’s CEO she didn’t ban subreddits depicting nude corpses of dead women, in often erotic fashion, but did ban r/fatpeoplehate on the grounds of “harassment”. Too bad dead young women aren’t as loud as fat people. Under that premise, shouldn’t subreddits aimed at harassing African Americans (r/coontown) also be banned? Pao was a terrible CEO for reddit who only cared about making a profit, redditors called her out on that, and it had nothing to do with her gender or ethnicity.
    – A female redditor.

    • I don’t know much about her tenure at reddit, but her past is a bit questionable due to her husband. Some reports about her lawsuit against K&P was partially due to her husband pressuring her to peruse lawsuit, because in 2012 they had to file for bankruptcy. I think he lost his own wrongful termination case. I want to support her, but her husband doing, and the fact they filed for bankruptcy once has me questioning things.

    • I don’t think Ellen Pao should be celebrated as a feminist figure either due to the reasons you just said, but it’s also impossible to deny that the vast majority of the criticism of her took the form of sexist and racist hate speech. -Also a female redditor of five years.

    • Just FYI, the admins also deleted r/transfags and a couple of other hate sites that were targeting trans women users. (Obvious trans erasure in play, but whatever.) THat’s not to say her actions are enough to merit whatever laurels people want to throw at her, but it wasn’t just FPH…

  8. 25 Sports Illustrated covers of amazingness! I know which one I need to buy. Abby. Wambach.

    THIS is how women should appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

  9. Ay, to add insult to injury, the article puts Estrella’s first name in quotation marks, and the judge refers to her as him, claiming that raping Estrella was a crime of opportunity for the four men to satisfy their sexual desire, “rather than on their desire to persecute or punish him because of his gender identity.”

    • (I mean the article about a Georgia immigration judge denying a Mexican trans woman’s asylum petition)

    • That rhetoric is a perfect shitstorm of transphobia, rape culture and downright ignorance. I can’t read the article because I prefer not to suffer a rage aneurysm, but I really don’t understand how people like that are considered impartial enough to interpret the law.

  10. Some really horrible stuff – more racism, transphobia – interspersed with the great stuff – Sports Illustrated covers, steps towards ending transphobia…

    I really like this segment because it briefly explains a lot of current issues, albeit almost entirely American stuff. It’d be great if there was an ‘around the world’ segment about some of the other stuff happening, but I guess there are loads of other places to get that…it’d just be nice to see AS’ particular focus on gender, sexuality, racism and feminism, which is always my have way to read the news!

  11. I also don’t think the Garner settlement is justice. The settlement is going to come out of taxpayer funds, and the murderers get off with no jail time.

    That Boy scout policy decision is bullshit. Good luck if your local troop is sponsored by a conservative church or you live in the bible belt.

    Hurray for the Bernie Sanders link! I know y’all are all about Hilary Clinton, but Bernie Sanders is so so much better of a candidate than her. He’s the real deal, not a band-wagon jumper member of the oligarchy like Clinton. He’s the first politician I’ve heard really call the American political system out on its bullshit and he’s got the history of activism and grassroots politics to back up what he’s saying.

  12. I did not like Girl Scouts when I was in them because I thought Boy Scouts had more fun but honestly can Boy Scouts shoot for acting a little more like the Girl Scouts w.r.t LGBTQ+ issues please

  13. I’ve never wanted to buy Sports Illustrated before, but…

    I always love these articles. So much news I had never heard of. Thanks Yvonne!

  14. LGBT Elders!!! Loretta Lynch!! TWENTY FIVE COVERS!! Boy Scouts??!! (kinda???)

    But then of course, the crappy stuff. The weekly news cycle is always messing with my emotions.

  15. Thank you for this column, it’s always such a well thought out mix of good and bad news, but ultimately it keeps me informed, which I appreciate.

  16. Autostraddle did a piece on Ellen Pao and that lawsuit, right? Reddit seems like the worst misogyny hole on the Internet, which is saying something.

  17. the whole situation surrounding Pao and Reddit is so sad to me–a good friend and frequent “only lady on her subreddits” was kind of talking me through it and it seems like all around it was shitty? like Reddit got praised for making Pao CEO in the first place, but she was only ever going to be the Interim CEO, so that was kind of a dick move. and then, as Interim CEO, it fell to her to make the tough decisions that nobody else wanted to make/do the unpopular things that nobody else wanted her to do… and now she’s out.

    • Based on the leaks that came out it seems like she was a puppet for reddit creator Alex Ohaian(SP), who now is part of their board.

  18. I never know how to effectively comment on these because there’s always soooo much going on. That said, I’m pleased with the change in the military to allow trans people to serve– that is such a gross policy that realllllyyyy needs to go. I really wasn’t expecting this move by Sports Illustrated, but I’m really okay with it. I feel like the Boy Scouts policy change is a total copout. And for the last bit, “one of the most popular stock characters for the misogynistic imagination” is such a perfect description. It’s completely disgusting, but very accurate.

  19. Ugh, so much going on here that seems to be just a quick fix or a superficial appeasement that isn’t actually bringing change.

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