News Briefs


Washington State Legislature Considers Conversion Therapy Ban
A new bill has been introduced in the Washington State House of Representatives that would prevent licensed healthcare providers from performing conversion therapy on any minors in Washington State. Conversion therapy is any program that intends to change a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation, ftentimes leading to adverse mental, physical, and emotional effects, especially for minors. A version of this same bill has already passed in the state Senate, and has reached committee in the House as of Tuesday, January 23rd.
“The legislature finds and declares that Washington has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harms caused by conversion therapy,” reads the bill, sponsored by Senators Liias, Walsh, Ranker, Pedersen, Rivers, Keiser, Fain, Frockt, Hunt, and Kuderer. If this bill passes, Washington will become the 10th state to ban conversion therapy for minors.

Garfield Pilipinx Student Association Hosts Stop the Killings Rally
This Tuesday during Advisory period, Garfield’s newly founded Pilipinx Student Association held a rally on the school’s front steps to raise awareness and stand in solidarity with the victims of extrajudicial killings at the hands of Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines.
A statement from the club was posted on their social media Monday night that urged students to take part in the rally. “As President Rodrigo Duterte was put into office on May 9th, 2016, a War on Drugs was initiated by the Philippine government within the country. Under the guise of eradicating widespread criminality, Duterte had promised to kill every drug user and dealer within the country as a means of ‘cleaning the streets’,” reads the statement, “The Drug War is, essentially, a war on the poor, disproportionately targeting the communities most affected by poverty.”
According to Human Rights Watch’s 2017 World Report, this campaign has led to over four thousand deaths, more than half of which were attributed not to the police, but to “unknown vigilantes”.

North Korean Athletes will Compete at the Winter Olympics
It was announced last week that North Korea will be sending 22 athletes to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. According to the International Olympic Committee, the North Korean athletes will be competing in ice hockey, figure skating, short track speedskating, cross-country skiing and alpine skiing. A decision was reached between North and South Korea that the two countries’ Olympic teams will march together at the opening ceremony on February 9th, under the Korean unification flag.
“I’m sure that this will be a very emotional moment not only for all Koreans but also for the entire world,” said International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in a recent interview with CNN. The North and South Korean women’s ice hockey teams will be combining and competing together as Korea, in a surprising show of diplomacy that many did not anticipate. The Olympics have, over time, become a reflection of changing tides in global politics and the 2018 games are shaping up to continue this trend.