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On January 20, President Barack Obama gave the annual State of the Union address, in which he addressed issues ranging from the economy to discrimination against minorities—including the LGBT community, marking the first time that transgender and bisexual people were explicitly mentioned in the State of the Union. He said, “As Americans, we respect human dignity…we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender…I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen.” [Watch the full speech here.]

The nominees for the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards have been announced, to recognize and honor media that include “fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.” In total there are 104 nominees in 21 English-language categories and 40 Spanish-language nominees in 10 categories, ranging from givens such as The Imitation Game to surprises like the graphic novel series Rat Queens. This year’s selection includes portrayals of people living with HIV, bisexual people, the transgender community, and more. [Read more]

A legal challenge to North Dakota’s marriage equality ban has been put on hold by a federal judge until the US Supreme Court hands down a ruling on the issue. The ND case, filed by seven same-sex couples, has been inactive since September, when both sides filed their final arguments with the court. [Read more]

Israel will now permit transgender people to legally change the gender markers on their ID without first undergoing gender confirmation surgery. The change comes after two transgender women petitioned the Interior Ministry to change the requirement,  stating that they do not want to have the surgery and calling the policy unreasonable. The request was granted in part because other countries have done the same previously. [Read more]

The Republic of Ireland’s government has promised to enact legislation allowing same-sex couples to jointly adopt before May, when the nation will vote on marriage equality. The planned revision of the Children and Family Relationships Bill took longer than anticipated to finalize, but the Department of Justice confirmed to press that it will be published in February and then debated in both the upper and lower Houses, which it is expected to pass. Planned changes in the revision include updates of laws regarding child custody and assisted human reproduction, in addition to adoption. Under current Irish law, only married couples or single people may adopt children. [Read more]

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