Welcome back to OptOut’s LGBTQ+ Newsletter.
Like everyone, I have been ingesting quite a bit of news about the ongoing conflict in Palestine and Israel. I believe, as we all should, in the safety and freedom of all peoples and I vehemently condemn attacks on civilians. We must be able to distinguish between Israelis and their government and Palestinians and Hamas. At the same time, we must acknowledge that violence is cyclical–and oppression breeds it. In order to pull this all towards LGBTQ+ politics, I have been seeing quite a few social media posts that equate LGBTQ+ folks supporting Palestine to chickens supporting KFC.
It is accurate to say that Israel has been more accepting of LGBTQ+ people than other Middle Eastern countries that are predominantly Muslim. We’re seeing the latent anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in many Muslim communities playing out here in the U.S. as well. (Michigan Advance) It is also true that LGBTQ+ Palestinians deserve a home, deserve safety, and deserve to practice their religion (or not) as they see fit, in accordance with their identity. To advocate, as an LGBTQ+ person, for the freedom of Palestine is not to say that there is not work to be done to end the persecution of all peoples. It is to acknowledge, simply, that LGBTQ+ Palestinians are a marginalized group and that Gaza has been described as an open-air prison. The Palestinian people deserve safety and freedom. And it also bears repeating that LGBTQ+ people are being persecuted in the U.S. and all around the world. “Queers for Palestine'' is not unequal to “Queers for the U.S.”
“I am not free while any [person] is unfree, even when [their] shackles are very different from my own.” - Audre Lorde
With that, let’s get to it.
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🏳️🌈 In a world divided into believers and naysayers, science seems to be taken as fact when it serves a certain purpose. All of the science pointing to where gender, sex, and sexuality come from are being undermined by Republican lawmakers in an effort to ban and limit gender-affirming care. In The Baffler, Matthew Zarenkiewicz examines Joanna Wuest’s book, Born This Way: Science, Citizenship, and Inequality in the American LGBTQ+ Movement, which explores how the importance placed on “provability” has made the LGBTQ+ experience into a disprovable hypothesis. Instead, we wonder, why can’t we just be queer, trans, bisexual, or gay? In other words, why can’t we just be?
🏳️🌈 The hypothesizing of identities has also led to fringe/faux studies, such as Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria which argues “that large numbers of girls are falsely identifying as trans boys and seeking unnecessary medical treatments.” Such “science” is being used by “reporters” like conservative writer Abigail Shrier to push anti-trans propaganda. (Assigned Media)
🏳️🌈 Also from Assigned Media, yet another NYT article misses the mark with trans narratives.
🏳️🌈 The Conservative Party in the U.K. wants to bar trans women from women-only hospital wards, a major potential hit to trans women’s healthcare and safety. (QueerAF)
🏳️🌈 “[The anti-trans movement] will tell you pretty much anything except the fact that my gender identity is a heartfelt expression of my own individuality and when their smear campaign against me fails the multibillion-dollar machine behind the anti-trans movement will begin telling you terrible things about other people who are even more marginalized than I am to keep you scared of them becoming empowered too.” - Nicky Reid, on how attacks on trans people are attacks on liberty, for COUNTERPUNCH.
🏳️🌈 “Ohio House Bill 183 would ban transgender individuals from using group restroom facilities and locker rooms in Ohio public schools and colleges.” The law “contains language nearly identical to the “Student Physical Privacy Act,” a piece of model legislation drafted by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a designated anti-LGBTQ+ hate group responsible for hundreds of pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the country.” (Buckeye Flame)
🏳️🌈 “Wisconsin’s proposed youth gender-affirming care ban, named the ‘Help Not Harm Act,’ is based off of model legislation with the same name from the Family Policy Alliance.” But at a recent hearing on the matter, lawmakers exhibited a clear lack of understanding on gender and gender-affirming care, which was exacerbated by misinformation. (Wisconsin Watch, Wisconsin Examiner) You can hear more about this story from WORTNews’ latest podcast episode.
🏳️🌈 In Florida, where the logic ain’t logic-ing and the math ain’t math-ing, DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay Bill” is in full-effect, as Charlotte County public schools have decided to ban books with ANY gay characters. A lot of the book banning rhetoric is built on the fallacy that children must be protected from books that depict sex or sexual acts (the Bible is fine, though). LGBTQ+ people and authors know that their books are actually being banned to remove representation of diverse and complex sexualities and genders. (The Ring of Fire) Such actions not only limit representation, but directly harm public education. (The New Republic)
🏳️🌈 Assigned Media has just announced its launch of their Trans Data Library project, which “contains searchable, interconnected entries on the individuals and organizations involved in anti-trans activism.”
🏳️🌈 “Two weeks ago, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 345, a comprehensive shield law authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner that grants legal protections for California health care professionals who provide or dispense medication abortion, contraception, or gender-affirming care to their patients who live in states where such essential care is illegal. California joins New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont, among the handful of states that have enacted such a shield law.” (Alameda Post)
🏳️🌈 Weston, Ohio is positioned to have its first out LGBTQ+ council member. (The Buckeye Flame)
🏳️🌈 U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal recently introduced a bill that would help veteran and active LGBTQ+ military members access their benefits. “Many of those veterans who were discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation under policies like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” still have trouble accessing benefits. Active duty LGBTQ+ service members also deal with inconsistent protections that may put their careers at risk, Blumenthal said.” (CT Mirror)
Thank you for being here, and thank you for your diligent, informed, and independent news consumption. Remember to hold each other. I’ll see you in two weeks.
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