Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens broke their silence on May 17, four days after the White House issued a directive to school districts nationwide affirming transgender students’ rights to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
The pair both released statements criticizing the directive, with Deal saying it “has generated confusion and controversy” and Olens accusing the White House of addressing a “sensitive and complex issue with a sledgehammer,” but they stopped short of announcing any direct action such as filing a federal lawsuit, which about two dozen Georgia Republican senators have called for them to do.
Deal left it up to local school districts to address, saying, “While our 181 school systems must each determine an appropriate response to this federal overreach, I have asked State School Superintendent Richard Woods to provide guidance to those local school systems seeking assistance and clarity on this issue in order to ensure that there will be as much uniformity across our state as possible.”
Olens called the directive “yet another example of executive overreach” but also said it’s up to parents, teachers and local communities to address it, adding, “As the State’s chief law enforcement officer, I will take steps, when appropriate under the law, to ensure that these decisions are being made at the appropriate level, as demanded by principles of separation of powers and federalism under our Constitution.”
Woman charged in the death of Atlanta drag performer Lateasha Shuntel
Federal authorities have arrested and charged Deanna M. Roberts, 46, of Sanford, Florida in the death of beloved drag performer Lateasha Shuntel.
Roberts was taken into custody on May 17 at her Florida home. She faces charges of falsely claiming to be a licensed medical practitioner and illegally transporting liquid silicone from Florida to Atlanta. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Roberts injected the liquid silicone directly into Shuntel’s buttocks, which resulted in her death.
“The public should be wary of individuals who use substances like silicone in ways that are not approved by the FDA, or that are administered by persons who are not properly trained or licensed,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn.
“Liquid silicone is strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and may be legally injected directly into the human body only as a treatment for certain eye conditions,” according to Horn, the indictment, and other information presented in court.
Shuntel, 45, was found dead on Nov. 18. An outpouring of condolences and tributes followed, including The Lateasha Shuntel Memorial Fund, which raised over $16,000 for final expenses.
Roberts made her initial court appearance on May 17 in Orlando, Florida and could also face charges in Fulton County.
Laverne Cox praises Atlanta trans activist Raquel Willis on social media
Actress Laverne Cox may be one of the most visible transgender women in the world at the moment, but she recently jumped at the opportunity to acknowledge the work of Atlanta trans activist Raquel Willis. On May 16, Cox shared “The Transgender Dating Dilemma,” a 2015 Buzzfeed article written by Willis, with millions of her social media followers on Facebook and Twitter.
“I related to so many of Willis’ stories and appreciate her intersectional lens,” wrote Cox. “Thank you Raquel for your candor, nuance and empathy in telling it like it is. We must never give up hope that love is possible. #TransisBeautiful”
Not surprisingly, Willis was floored to receive a “shout out from the queen,” but the reaction from people connected to Atlanta’s own in addition to Cox was equally heartwarming.
“This is Raquel Willis’ world and we just live in it. Yes ma’m!,” wrote Laura Barton on Facebook.