Welcome back to OptOut’s LGBTQ+ Newsletter.

In what should come as no surprise, I want to start us off today with talking about trauma. It’s crucial as LGBTQ+ folks–as marginalized folks in general–to center and celebrate joy, especially in consideration of the striking and palpable pain that comes with oppression and state-organized violence. It’s in pursuit of this joy that I end each newsletter with positive LGBTQ+ stories from the last few weeks.

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I have been thinking about how some of our grabs for joy might border on disassociation. Take, for instance, the dek/subheading for this newsletter–pure gallows humor. Between an on-going pandemic, a country plummeting towards fascism, accelerating climate change, widespread violence, and a laundry list of societal systems that we could place in front of the word “crisis” or the suffix “-ism,” we are experiencing unprecedented collective trauma. And yet, we joke. The reaction, of course, makes sense. Levity is an often healthy coping mechanism–or perhaps a trauma response–but when death, pain, mental illness, and the like undergo memeification, we risk a permanent state of denial.

Every once in a while, I come across a piece that I wish I wrote myself, and that was the case with Ana Marie Cox’s latest in The New Republic. She examines all of those “coping mechanisms” we engage in, and the piece itself serves as a major wake up call to finally admit how “fucking traumatized” we really are. Frankly, the longer we deny  reality the more we safeguard the conditions for its survival.

So go ahead, read the piece and admit that you’re not okay. It’ll do ya good. Having said that, let’s get to the rest of the newsletter.

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The Latest

🏳️‍🌈 The Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) might sound like it has good intentions, and part of it very well could be aimed at protecting children online, but LGBTQ+ folks and advocates are worried there’s something more sinister beneath the vague language in the proposed law—and with good reason. Recent studies and investigations have found that youth experience adverse mental health effects due to social media use, including low self-esteem, so such a bill makes sense in theory. However, the proposed law’s language is so ambiguous that it raises serious questions about enforcement–how government might compel social media companies and video game entities to “act in the best interest of minors using the applications or services, including by mitigating harms that may arise from that use." One of the bill’s co-sponsors, Rep. Marsha Blackburn “has been clear: The harm she hopes to use KOSA to protect children from is ‘the transgender in this culture.’” (Assigned Media)

🏳️‍🌈 In a society built on capitalism, it can be hard to separate our identities from consumer goods (apparently). Hence, the numerous right-wing boycotts, from Anheuser-Busch and Target to breakfast cereals and protein bars. The New Republic examines the intricacies and depth of this “parallel economy.”

🏳️‍🌈 With America's political right as a whole spiraling closer and closer to fascism, Canada has a game plan in the event that the U.S. becomes an authoritarian state following the 2024 election. (The Humanist Report) Such a morbid fate might be brought on by corporate media. (The New Republic)

🏳️‍🌈 Megyn Kelly, who called the LGBTQ+ community a trans agenda-pushing “cult,” doesn’t think that Trump is anti-trans enough. In the same breath, she invoked God and His intentions several times. I’d personally love to have discourse with her about theology and the origin of cults. (The Humanist Report)

🏳️‍🌈 In case we needed another reminder that politics transcends national borders, Chile seems to be a direct mirror of the U.S., as Chileans continue to protest the far-right’s hijacking of their new constitution process. (The Real News Network)

🏳️‍🌈 Serving as a thorough reminder of intersectionality, Earth Island Journal examines the ideologies that fuel the far-right attacks on both the trans community and the planet.

🏳️‍🌈 Conditions for LGBTQ+ Tennesseans are fraught, largely due to the anti-LGBTQ+ laws passed in the state–part of a larger national trend. As a result, “in 2022, over 48% of Tennessee LGBTQ+ youth had ‘seriously considered’ suicide in the past year.” (Scalawag)

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The Positives

🏳️‍🌈 Milwaukee County in Wisconsin is hoping to become a sanctuary for LGBTQ people. A resolution to declare the county as such passed their “Board’s Committee on Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and General Services on Monday...3-2, and will now move to the County Board for consideration.” If successful, the plan will be huge for LGBTQ+ Wisconsinites. (Wisconsin Examiner)

🏳️‍🌈 David Choate, a queer Black man from Ohio, founded the Revolution Dance Theatre in Cincinnati, and in turn, created a space where Black classical dance can flourish. (The Buckeye Flame)

🏳️‍🌈 TransLash is accepting submissions from Black trans femmes in the arts for Volume 7 of their Zine.

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.

The OptOut Media Foundation (EIN: 85-2348079) is a nonprofit charity with a mission to educate the public about current events and help sustain a diverse media ecosystem by promoting and assisting independent news outlets and, in doing so, advance democracy and social justice.

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