What will it take to protect our community?

As I sit and write this newsletter, I’m thinking of O’Shae Sibley, a Black queer man who was stabbed to death in NYC last week while voguing with his friends. A 17-year-old, whose lawyer has described him as a “good Christian boy,” turned himself in and has been charged with murder as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon. (Hell Gate) I will not name him here because his name is not the one you should remember. This tragedy was especially harrowing because O’Shae was experiencing queer joy, dancing around a gas station parking lot to Beyoncé’s Renaissance album. (The City) We so often assume we are safe in blue cities and states, especially in New York, but we are reminded here that safety is never guaranteed. May we live, vogue, and be visible in his honor. May we raise nonviolent children who find beauty in difference. May we strive toward a future where queer and trans bodies reach old age.

With that, let’s get to it.

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The Latest

🏳️‍🌈 Misinformation guides everything these days, including the war against gender-affirming care. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

🏳️‍🌈Also from Oregon Capital Chronicle, an in-house study found that “Trans youth are less likely to attempt suicide after starting hormone replacement therapy”; whereas “Trans youth are more likely to attempt suicide after starting conversion therapy.” While this might not come as a surprise to some of our readers, having data to prove these points could be a game changer against misinformation.

🏳️‍🌈 Historian and writer Hugh Ryan wrote an expansive piece about what it has meant to be queer and trans throughout history. (Boston Review) And professor and writer Ali Olomi wrote a similar piece in Religion Dispatches through the lens of Islam.

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🏳️‍🌈 Florida went ahead and surprised no one by banning AP Psychology because it violates it’s “Don’t Say Gay” law by including “content on sexual orientation and gender identity.” (The New Republic)

🏳️‍🌈 Continued anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and actions in Georgia could threaten the nation’s place in the EU. (The Nation)

🏳️‍🌈 That atrocious ad (The Majority Report) I covered two newsletters ago was actually created and planted by DeSantis’ campaign. As if his failing efforts needed any help. To make matters worse, there was another released-and-quickly deleted video that showed DeSantis with a Nazi symbol. (The New Republic)

🏳️‍🌈 A bill was introduced in Ohio that would allow public schools to hire a chaplain to counsel students. A similar bill was passed in Texas that allows schools to hire chaplains instead of licensed counselors. LGBTQ+ folks and religious rights advocates are concerned about the ramifications of such counseling, including the risk that the chaplains will insist on conversion therapy to LGBTQ+ students or encourage students to switch religions. (The Buckeye Flame)

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🏳️‍🌈The New Republic took a closer look at the Alliance Defending Freedom, who represented Lorie Smith in the 303 Creative LLC case to SCOTUS. It turns out that Lorie had created a wedding website, a fact that turns her entire case on its head because her team’s entire argument was that she was being prevented from creating wedding websites out of fear of being sued if she didn’t want to make one for a same-sex couple. But if she had already created a wedding website and was advertising such as part of her services and hadn’t been sued one might deduce that the entire case/concern was fabricated. And when you consider OptOut’s founder Alex Kotch’s exclusive piece that traces hidden money from large US charities to organizations like ADF, you begin to understand just how much of the anti-LGBTQ crusade is fabricated, and by who.

🏳️‍🌈While the war in Ukraine is ongoing, abhorrent, and destructive, it is also creating a push for LGBTQ+ rights. Unfortunately, such a push is coming from the fact that LGBTQ+ folks want to be able to make medical decisions for their partners at war, or identify their bodies, in the event of a tragedy. These are the pleas our community is forced to make. (The New Republic) The war is also forcing LGBTQ+ Russians to seek asylum elsewhere, including NY. However, LGBTQ+ migrants from South and Central American countries are facing discrimination in NYC shelters. (Documented)

🏳️‍🌈Far-right anti-LGBTQ+ organizations are feeding disinformation to everyday people, sewing fear and inspiring them to take ridiculous actions–like removing LGBTQ+ books from a Pride display in a San Diego library and then…holding them hostage. Luckily, there are more open-minded and accepting people combatting their bigotry. (The Humanist Report)

🏳️‍🌈Also two newsletters ago, I included two pieces (Trans Lash, The Majority Report) that spoke to trans folks and their families fleeing states like Florida. As similar stories develop, perhaps unsurprisingly, bigots are apparently celebrating their departures. (The Humanist Report)

🏳️‍🌈Republicans in Ohio have put “Issue 1” on the ballot, which would require “petition-based amendments to pass with 60 percent of the vote, rather than a simple majority.” If this measure passes, abortion and trans rights are the likely targets. (The Nation)

The Positives

🏳️‍🌈 Katelyn Burns breaks down recent trans joy around the US for TransLash.

🏳️‍🌈 A venue in Vancouver gives queer and trans people a chance to seek joy, fun, and healing with their chosen family. (The Tyee)

🏳️‍🌈A win for unmarried exes who parent in Michigan. And Michigan joined 21 other states by banning conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ youth (Michigan Advance)

🏳️‍🌈In the face of Jason Aldean’s racist ballad, country singer Tyler Childer’s released a music video for the song, “In Your Love,” which focuses on two gay men who fall in love in the coal mines. (In These Times)

🏳️‍🌈 While they experience trials and tribulations in ways that differ from their cis-peers, Amy Littlefield’s profile of trans lawmakers for The Nation will give you some hope.

🏳️‍🌈A group in Ohio is reimagining death and dying for LGBTQ+ folks. (The Buckeye Flame)

🏳️‍🌈Grindr is unionizing! (Jacobin)

–Remember O’Shae Sibley. Fight like hell for his memory. I’ll see you in two weeks.

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