Happy Pride, folks! This month is about visibility, joy, love, community, and fierce devotion to our truths and livelihoods. We owe this annual celebration to Black trans women, to queer people of color, to a long list of fallen LGBTQ+ siblings and ancestors who spearheaded our path to freedom.
And yet, in the year 2023, this month is also about taking stock of the precariousness of our situation, in the deep lack of safety trans and queer bodies have, in the continued onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ bills sweeping the nation, in the bigotry and hate-fueled disinformation campaigns. To be visible is both a privilege and a risk. To be queer and/or trans is a blessing and a risk. As Blanka Vay said in her article, republished by The Real News Network, “We’re out, and not always proud. Sometimes we’re out and embarrassed, out and ashamed, out and angry, or out, silently crying, and endlessly tired.” Let us continue to center ourselves as blessings, as joyful, as beings with a direct birthright for longevity.
Let’s move the needle forward.
I normally start my newsletters with the most important LGBTQ+ news of the last two weeks and wrap things up with positives, but if we’re centering and elevating our joy, I think we ought to start with it.
🏳️🌈 Derek P. Siegel thinks the same according to their piece in YES! Magazine that dives into “the trans joy missing from media coverage and legislation.”
🏳️🌈 Maryland is recognizing Pride and making sure all those who celebrate are practicing safe sex. (Maryland Matters)
🏳️🌈 Folks in Douglas County, Colorado, are resisting LGBTQ+ book-banning at their local libraries. (Colorado Newsline)
🏳️🌈 Organizations including the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, GLSEN, Family Equality, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Center for Lesbian Rights and National Black Justice Coalition are calling on Target and other major corporations to take a stand against anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry. (NC Newsline)
🏳️🌈 Ted Cruz said “something perfectly reasonable.” (The Humanist Report) This “something” was denouncing the anti-LGBTQ+ law in Uganda that includes the death penalty for being LGBTQ+. His comments have, unsurprisingly, gotten a lot of flack from fellow conservatives.
🏳️🌈 Louisiana Republican State Sen. Fred Mills “broke ranks to kill an anti-trans bill banning gender-affirming care for minors. And he doesn’t care about the online rightwing outrage over it.” (The New Republic)
🏳️🌈 The Nation dives into the linguistic power of “t4t” (or “trans 4 trans”), a term that embodies community love, support, and desire.
🏳️🌈 Here’s a list of Pride events in Pennsylvania this month. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)
🏳️🌈 In the face of hate and violence, LGBTQ+ folks in Idaho are still gathering and celebrating this month. (Idaho Capital Sun)
🏳️🌈 A federal judge in Tennessee ruled the state’s anti-drag law as unconstitutional (Common Dreams), and numerous drag queens and venues are resisting similar bills across the country. (In These Times)
🏳️🌈 Waging Nonviolence conducted an interview with author, journalist, and activist Toshio Meronek about their book, Conversations with a Black Trans Revolutionary, about Miss Major, a long-time trans activist who was at the Stonewall riots that started Pride.
🏳️🌈 In Florida, a group called the Found Family Collective is teaching trans folks to harness their power through self-defense classes. (TransLash)
The Current State of Affairs
🏳️🌈 A transphobic book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, by American author Abigail Shrier has been translated into Hebrew for Israeli readers. While the book launch was met with LGBTQ+ protestrs and their allies, the translation of such a text means that anti-trans rhetoric continues to spread beyond America’s borders. (+972 Magazine)
🏳️🌈 A “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Louisiana advanced last week, making it a step closer to the Governor’s desk. (Louisiana Illuminator)
🏳️🌈 A public library in Montana canceled an event with a trans activist and speaker out of fear of punishment under the state’s vaguely-written anti-drag bill (The New Republic). Also from TNR, the Pentagon canceled an annual drag performance at its Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
🏳️🌈 Elon Musk, a father of a trans child who can be best described as having entirely missed the mark, is vowing to lobby for the criminalization of gender-affirming care while promoting Matt Walsh’s transphobic and baseless rhetoric. (The New Republic and The Humanist Report)
🏳️🌈 Counterpunch wants to remind us that corporations are not our allies this Pride, especially if they—like Target and Anheuser-Busch—are so quick to pull product or alter their rhetoric in the face of conservative ridicule.
🏳️🌈 Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation that “mandates college athletes participate in sports based on their ‘biological sex.’” (Alabama Reflector)
🏳️🌈 Numerous terrorism and travel advisories were issued for LGBTQ+ Americans ahead of Pride month. (The Buckeye Flame).
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Remember to stay vigilant and safe this month. Remember that joy is our birthright. Remember that this pride—this power—is ours.
I’ll see you in two weeks.
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