This is the newsletter of OptOut LGBTQ+, a program of the OptOut Media Foundation led by Liana DeMasi. OptOut maintains a free news aggregation app for exclusively independent media that's available for Apple and Android devices. Find out more about the app at optout.news.
Hey there, and welcome to our very first LGBTQ+ newsletter! I’m Liana DeMasi, OptOut’s LGBTQ+ editor.
Here’s our plan: I’m going to bring you the most up-to-date news impacting our community. You’re going to read it, and together, we’re going to stay informed, diligent, and focused in our efforts to move the needle a bit closer to equality. Whether you’re an ally or a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I’m happy you’re here.
Midterm elections were this week, so I hope everyone in the U.S. got the chance to post cute selfies with their “I Voted" stickers—I mean, exercise their right to vote. Let’s take a look at what else happened these last two weeks.
We Need to Talk About Florida
I think we can all agree that Ron DeSantis is an example of “Florida Man” gone too far. In his latest bout of bigotry, DeSantis’ campaign took it upon itself to send out a photo of a non-binary college student with a superimposed speech bubble saying, “Thank you, Joe Biden and Charlie Crist, for making Floridians pay off my student debt.” Farron Cousins at THE RING OF FIRE dives into this moment.
In Florida, PRISM takes a look at the worsening anti-LGBTQ+ censorship in schools. Under new school board rules, teachers could lose their licenses if they don’t adhere to the state's "Don’t Say Gay" bill's guidelines. Additionally, elementary school libraries must “post their educational and reading materials online and make them accessible for parents to search through,” and schools must inform parents if gender-neutral bathrooms are implemented in schools.
Plus, it’s so clear that we can’t teach anyone to be gay:
Given DeSantis' continued push for anti-trans laws and his sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, this latest stunt doesn’t necessarily surprise me. What does surprise me is the GOP’s continued focus on anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, especially when the majority of Americans don’t support these bills. While it might be comforting to know that two-thirds of Americans are against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, it also paints an image of politicians who sow division for political gain through hatred, fear, and disinformation.
Yessenia Funes at ATMOS reminds us that all of this anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is harming queer and trans youth while attempting to distract them from efforts that we so desperately need to combat climate change. As politicians continue to diminish our youth in order to push their own campaigns forward, our planet continues to burn. We are all getting left behind in their pursuit of power. Funes leaves us hoping for “a world where queer youth survive and live to see the wrinkles on their skin, too.”
These distractions are also impeding students’ ability to succeed in the classroom. THE AMERICAN PROSPECT takes a look at what American students are really worried about.
Why Is This Even Happening?
Maybe it’s indifference. IOWA POLITICAL DISPATCH examines a few recent studies that suggest the real issue impacting our political situation is not love or hate, but indifference. Many people find themselves taking the middle or neutral ground on some of these polarizing discussions. Yet, “indifference validates hatred.” People who don’t care can’t advocate for a better world.
Maybe it’s religion. According to an article published by COUNTERPUNCH, The American Conservative published a “Statement of Principles,” which calls for the U.S. to be recognized as a Christian nation. If this were to happen, we can expect same-sex marriages to be nullified and anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric to flourish. These calls for a Christian nation by Republicans are peculiar, especially when many call themselves Constitutionalists. We can presume the signers—an array of rightwing figures including TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk and Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer—plan to overlook the “separation of church and state” line. Openly gay Paypal billionaire Peter Theil also signed the statement, seemingly forgetting that Christian nationalists hate gay people—or perhaps aware that as long as he continues to bankroll the political far right, he’ll be safe from their venom.
Calls for Diligence
THE BUCKEYE FLAME takes a look at a Harper’s Bazaar article that classified a recently blocked anti-LGBTQ+ resolution in Ohio public schools as a victory. Ken Schneck reminds us that, while this resolution was blocked, the school board members introduced new resolutions similar to the one that was stalled. He says, “Here’s the thing: optimism is a wonderful tool of activism,” but we can’t utilize said optimism where it isn’t due. In other words, we can’t relax until the work is done.
With anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ laws sweeping the nation, TRANSLASH reminds us that bodily autonomy was on the ballot during the midterms. Imara Jones speaks to Sydney Bauer and Renee Bracey Sherman about abortion access, reproductive rights, and trans liberation.
Cheers to this woman absolutely going off about this conservative-fueled bigotry.
“I’ve never been sexually assaulted in a drag show, but I have been in church. Twice.” pic.twitter.com/crv6GdpcNT— Keith Edwards (@keithedwards) October 29, 2022
And again, I really hope you voted. Lex does too:
Tell Me Something!
This LGBTQ+ newsletter is for and about you! Do you have an uplifting story to share? Is there something happening in your town that you think our LGBTQ+ readers ought to know? No story is too small—or too big! Email me at email@example.com with your story, anecdote, or tidbit, and I’ll highlight one in the next newsletter.
All right, I’m off. See you in two weeks!
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