NATIONAL NEWS: HRC Speaks Out on the Death of Philly Transwoman Maya Young

Plus: Out musician Sam Smith wins an Academy Award, and the cancelation of a popular gay Chinese TV drama sparks outrage.

Maya Young, 25, was murdered in Frankford on February 20th.

Maya Young, 25, was murdered on Frankford on February 20th.

The Human Rights Campaign publicly acknowledges the recent death of a Philly transwoman.

As Philly continues to reflect on another tragic death of a transwoman of color, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization joins the city in solidarity. Maya Young, 25, was stabbed to death on February 20th. The Human Rights Campaign released a public statement about her death to their huge following. The momentum continued this past Saturday at the HRC Greater Philadelphia Gala when national president Chad Griffin asked guests to “take a moment to remember the life of Maya Young” and said, “Congress needs to act with a greater sense of urgency to protect the lives of transgender Americans.” Over the past year, there has been an alarming number of deaths of transwomen of color across the country. Last October, Philly native Kiesha Jenkins became the 20th reported transwoman of color murdered in the U.S. in 2015.

Sam Smith became one of the few openly gay musicians to have won an Oscar.

Oscar Sunday was a victory for LGBT music lovers as out recording artist Sam Smith won the Academy Award for Best Original Song with cowriter Jimmy Napes for their song “The Writing on the Wall,” the theme to last year’s James Bond film, Spectre. “I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community all around the world,” Smith said in his acceptance speech. “I stand here tonight as a proud gay man, and I hope we can all stand together as equals one day.” Smith is part of a small number of out musicians who have won the converted award. In 1989, the late Howard Ashman became the first gay musician to win two Academy Awards; one for “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid, and another in 1991 for “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast. Before Smith, the last time such a feat happened for the LGBT community was in 1995 with Elton John winning for “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” from The Lion King.

In international news, a backlash quickly followed the cancelation of the popular gay Chinese TV drama Addiction.

Chinese TV viewers were outraged when Addiction – a 15-part web series about queer high school life experiences – was unexpectedly removed online. China’s version of Netflix, iQiyi, removed the show after censors complained that it was “unfit for viewing.” Time Magazine reported that this reaction led to more than 110 million online responses from fans criticizing the show’s abrupt absence. Culturally, there has been a reoccurring theme of extreme censorship and social disapproval of LGBT people in China. However, despite the transgressions, there is no official announcement of the show’s cancellation and viewers can still find previous clips on YouTube.