Three weeks ago we published the Top 10 National LGBT Stories of the Year. But our editors chose those topics and subjects.

So we decided to take a look at what our readers are actually reading on the website. 

So here is our list of the 10 most-read stories from SFGN.com. 

Rowan Ward Makes History on 'Jeopardy!' as Non-Binary Contestant

By Jason Parsley

Rowan Ward, a non-binary contestant on "Jeopardy!," made history with their wins on the long-running game show. 

Ward’s initial run on the show was short-lived when they lost in their first appearance. In years past that would have meant the end of the road for those contestants. 

But this season “Jeopardy!” introduced a new tournament called Second Chance Tournament. Ward was one of two winners of the tournament that moved on to the Tournament of Champions.

According to Advocate, when Ward competed last year, they were not publicly out and used a different name on the show. 

When "Jeopardy!" host Ken Jennings asked Ward what they did with their third-place winnings after their first shot on the show, Ward said, “Oh I have $1,000 and actually before going on ‘Jeopardy!’ I told my close friends to call me Rowan. I was under another name on the show, but I'm non-binary. I wanted a name that [fit] me. So what I did with the money is I used it to pay for my name change filing and now I'm back on ‘Jeopardy!’ with a second chance, as my true self.” 

During the Tournament of Champions Ward lost in the quarterfinals.

20 Public Figures You (Probably) Didn’t Know Were Asexual 

By Kim Swan

From a model activist to a TV show personality, there are many public figures who have come out as asexual.

Aromantics are people who feel little or no romantic attraction, while asexuals lack sexual attraction or sexual interest. It is possible for someone to be both.

To highlight the sexual orientation, these are the public figures who people probably didn’t know were asexuals.

Yasmin Benoit: A Black model activist 

Tim Gunn: American author, actor, and television personality 

Janeane Garofalo: American comedian 

Paula Poundstone: Comedian 

Morrissey: Singer, songwriter and author 

Sriti Jha: Actress 

Mikey Neumann: YouTuber 

Erica Mendez: Voice actor 

Bradford Cox: The lead singer for Deerhunter 

David Archuleta: The “American Idol” alum 

Keri Hulme: Author 

David Jay: Activist and the founder of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network 

Kim Deal: Singer 

Edward Gorey: Author 

Cavetown: Singer and songwriter 

John Frusciante: Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist 

Temple Grandin: Autism activist and scientist 

Emilie Autumn: Singer 

Ana Gabriel: Mexican singer-songwriter 

Alice Oseman: Author

Monkeypox Grips Nation 

By John Hayden

While still dealing with COVID, Americans, especially men who have sex with men (MSM), were confronted with another health crisis: Monkeypox. The disease is prominent in Africa. This outbreak is traced back to circuit parties in Europe where some attendees had visited Africa.

South Florida was a major point of entry for the virus, and it quickly spread across the country. By the end of the year, 30,000 Americans had been diagnosed and 20 had died.

Monkeypox is similar to smallpox, and people over 50 who had been vaccinated for smallpox as kids were mostly immune. This was the first Monkeypox outbreak in America in decades. A vaccine is available, and once it became clear this outbreak was spreading, the Biden administration ordered a million doses. 

The disease is spread through prolonged, close exposure to an infected person, almost always through skin-to-skin contact, including sex. Because lesions can go unseen during intimate moments, sexual relations became a driver of infections.

The most at-risk patients are those with compromised immune systems. Most patients get flu-like symptoms and lesions usually appear within a week and take a couple of weeks to clear. During that time, patients should avoid exposing others.

Russian General Who Tortured, Murdered LGBT People Killed in Ukraine 

By Kim Swan

Karma was on the side of LGBT people when a Russian general who was responsible for torturing and killing Chechen queer people was killed in the war in Ukraine Feb. 26. 

The Ukrainian forces were the ones who confirmed the death of Magomed Tushayev, a top advisor and military commander in Russia, according to The Los Angeles Blade

“While I never rejoice at the killing of anyone, his death means one less mass murderer on the loose,” Peter Tatchell, a British LGBT activist and human rights campaigner, told The Jerusalem Post. “Those who live by the sword should not be surprised if they die by the sword. This will mean that he is no longer able to abduct, torture and kill Chechen LGBTs and dissidents, which is a good thing.” 

Tushayev was killed at the Antonov International Airport northwest of Kyiv. Illia Ponomarenko, a defense reporter for The Kyiv Independent, tweeted: “Magomed Tushayev, one of Ramzan Kadyrov’s top warlords, has been killed in action in Hostomel. Ukraine’s elite Alpha Group is reportedly fighting Chechens in the airfield.” 

16 Prominent Anti-Vaxxers Die of COVID, Including a QAnon Promoter 

By Kim Swan

While many people were getting vaccinated against COVID, anti-vaxxers openly fought against it, a few of them dying of the disease in the process.  

Although Vachik Mangassarian, an actor, ended up getting the vaccine much later on, he originally opposed it and spread misinformation about the pandemic, according to Newsone. 

Manassarian died of complications with COVID on Jan. 25 at age 78. 

Cirsten Weldon, who encouraged her followers to not take the vaccine, died of COVID in January 2022. She was a Donald Trump supporter who also posted QAnon conspiracy theories on right-wing social media, according to The Daily Beast. 

Kelly Canon, a conservative who peddled vaccine misinformation, died of COVID in January 2022. She died after a few weeks of attending a “symposium” against the vaccine, according to Yahoo.com. 

Other prominent anti-vaxxers have also died of COVID since August: Marc Bernier, Phil Valentine, Jimmy DeYoung, Dick Farrel, Tod Tucker, Jimmy DeYoung, Sr., Gregg Prentice, Marcus Lamb, Robin Fransman, William Hartmann, Kelly Ernby, Johann Biacsics, and Douglas Kuzma.

New Report Claims Florida Has Banned 566 Books

By Everitt Rosen

At the start of Banned Books Week, a report was released by PEN America, a nonprofit organization that promotes literary freedom of speech, finding that efforts to censor books in the U.S. are on track to surpass last year's count.

Florida has book prohibitions affecting 566 titles in 21 of the state's school districts, according to PEN America. The LGBT community and people of color are frequently included in themes or characters in works that have been banned.

The Florida Board of Education refused to provide any clarification on how districts should use the list, instead stating that it was up to them to create "a mechanism for eliminating or limiting access to individual publications," according to the New York Times.

Novels like "Milk and Honey," "Gender Queer," and "All Boys Aren't Blue," are often deemed essential for the inclusive education of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and gender dysphoric kids.

“I was writing the book I wish I got to have when I was a youth struggling with the intersections of my Blackness and my queerness, and trying to navigate a society that wasn’t built for me,” said George M. Johnson, author of “All Boys Aren’t Blue.”

Gay Couple with Children Harassed on Train, Called Pedophiles

Kim Swan

A gay married couple with two children decided to take what they thought would be a fun family trip to California. However, while they were on the train, a man approached them and called them “pedophiles,” accusing the couple of stealing their children. 

Robbie Pierce recounted the horror of the verbal attack in an interview with BuzzFeed. He said the incident caused both of his children, ages 5 and 6, to cry while his husband, Neal Broverman, shielded them from the unidentified man.  

"All of a sudden there was a man there, just standing there and shouting," Pierce said. "'Remember what I told you! They stole you! They're pedophiles!' At that point I was like, this is something really awful and homophobic." 

The incident occurred April 12, 2022 on the Amtrak train traveling to San Jose, California. 

The man used words like “stole,” “pedophiles,” and “rapists” that come from QAnon conspiracists and right-wing rhetoric that creates false and hateful accusations about LGBT people. 

After the man left, Pierce said that his children continued to cry and had to explain bigotry in a way that children can understand. 

However, he couldn't promise his kids they wouldn't face something similar again. 

Bisexual Barista Wins US Championship

Kim Swan

Making coffee is Morgan Eckroth’s passion. And her passion allowed her to win the 2022 United States Barista Championship

Not only is she a content creator with nearly seven million followers in Portland, Oregon, but she is also a “proud B” in the LGBT community. 

“Labeling my gender has always felt strange as well as never really mattered to me,” she writes on Instagram. “I’m Morgan and I’m quite content with that. She/they pronouns are rad and I love y’all a lot, thanks for hanging out and making coffee with me for over two years.” 

Eckroth is known as MorganDrinksCoffee on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. She works at Keeper Coffee and is the first already-famous person to win a major coffee competition, according to Sprudge.

Texas Pastor: ‘I Just Can’t Wait for Gay People to Go to Hell’ 

Kim Swan

After countless years of calling for the death of LGBT people, Pastor Jonathan Shelley of Texas said that his church has to move since “nobody really wants to lease to us.”

This is the same pastor who said “fornicators” were not welcomed in his Steadfast Baptist Church and said he couldn’t wait for gay people to “go to Hell.” 

“Love is love? No. There’s no promise you could make, there’s nothing you can say, you’re never welcome, go away. I just can’t wait until you just go to Hell,” Shelley said during a live stream of the sermon March 6, which has been taken down. 

People off-screen cheered in agreement while others were left in shock. 

Shelley is a part of the Steadfast Bible Church in Texas, which is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Pink News reported.

Gay Man Forced Out As CBP Commissioner

By John McDonald

He was one of the first heads to roll in the Biden Administration.

As the midterm elections consumed most of the public and media’s attention, Chris Magnus tendered his resignation as commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Magnus, 62, was the first-ever gay man to lead the country’s largest law enforcement agency. He had refused a request to resign by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, leaving his fate in the hands of President Joe Biden.

On Nov. 12, the White House announced Biden had accepted Magnus’ resignation and appreciates his “nearly 40 years of service and the contributions he made to police reform during his tenure as police chief in three U.S. cities.”

Magnus had sought to reform an agency with a well-documented history of corruption and misconduct. Its union, however, spun a narrative that Magnus was absent on issues at the southern border, which ultimately pushed him out after only 11 months on the job.

In an op-ed, in the Los Angeles Times, Christy E. Lopez, a former Department of Justice investigator, wrote Magnus’ dismissal was “a glaring example of a long-standing pattern in this country, including in the Biden administration, of calling for broad changes to reduce law enforcement harm and ensure accountability but refusing to support those brought on to actually make that change.”


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