Welcome back to OptOut’s LGBTQ+ Newsletter.

On October 25th, the U.S. Congress finally chose a Speaker of the House: Mike Johnson. In conversation with The Majority Report, writer/reporter Alex Sammon sums this decision up perfectly: “Most of his Congressional colleagues don’t know much about him.” That is, needless to say, alarming because it’s unclear if his truly extremist views were apparent enough to those who voted for him. Mike Johnson is an Evangelical. He’s the brains behind the Trump election coup. He doesn’t  even support legal no-fault divorce, and, of course, has dangerous views on abortion. (Louisiana Illuminator)

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According to The New Republic, “Prior to launching his political career, Speaker Mike Johnson worked hand in hand with a group promoting 'conversion therapy' for gay teens, actively promoting for the criminalization of gay sex, and even blaming the sexual orientation for the downfall of the Roman Empire.”

(Is this why all cishet men are thinking about the Roman Empire every day?).

With the rampant anti-LGBTQ+ disinformation campaign circulating, we can certainly expect the list of over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ laws to increase under his speakership. It seems worth saying that when we put people with these viewpoints in power, we are condoning and furthering their behavior.

Johnson has been quoted saying that “[he] think[s] that ultimately [Democrats] hope to turn all these illegals into voters for their side,” speaking about immigrants coming into the U.S. Why, aside from the abhorrent language, is this important? Because it isn’t the first time Johnson has made remarks that circle around the Great Replacement Theory, a far-right nationalist and neo-Nazi extremist theory that the Democrats–and ultimately Jews–are bringing in non-white immigrants to effectively replace white and European Americans. (The New Republic)

While this is the LGBTQ+ Newslettter, we recognize that an attack on any minority group is an attack on all. With that, let’s get to it.

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The Latest

🏳️‍🌈 Just a reminder that the anti-LGBTQ+ campaign is a complete farce. Colorado State Rep. Ron Weinberg says that allowing students to go by their “preferred name or nickname” will make it harder for first responders to save those students during school shootings. (The Majority Report) The real fear when it comes to school shootings is a lack of gun control and hate-fueled violence. (Assigned Media)

🏳️‍🌈 Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is presenting yet another case in front of the Supreme Court. Tingley v. Ferguson would overturn state bans on conversion therapy. (The New Republic)

🏳️‍🌈 To make it even easier to ban books from schools, Scholastic has decided to put books “on Black identity, picture books with LGBTQ+ characters, stories of Indigenous history and migration, among others'' in a category called, “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice.” While this title sounds inclusive and accepting, it seems to be a porous gesture, as the categorization makes it easy for school districts to exclude these books entirely with a quick click of a button. (The Intercept)

🏳️‍🌈 Although Texas’ SB 17 “effectively banned campus programs that catered to diverse student populations,” students at the University of Houston and beyond are dedicated to creating safe spaces for themselves and their peers. (Texas Observer)

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The Positives

🏳️‍🌈 Ohio House Democrats introduced the Marriage Equality Act which would “protect LGBTQ+ and interracial couples’ right to marry” (The Buckeye Flame)

🏳️‍🌈 QueerAF included a section in their newsletter titled “Queer Voices for Palestine.”

🏳️‍🌈 In August, LA hosted Them Fatale, a celebrated drag king show. TransLash reports on the welcoming, fun, and expansive event.

🏳️‍🌈 From PublicSource: A “Trans-inclusive fertility clinic to open in Pittsburgh within a year.”

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__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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