Welcome back to OptOut’s LGBTQ+ Newsletter, and Happy Pride!

Since this month is about protest and pride, we have our work cut out for us. As such, my introduction will be brief, so you can get the necessary updates and then get back out there.

Before we begin, I had the pleasure of sitting down with queer, trans advocate and lawyer, Andy Izenson for Important Context, OptOut's official reporting newsletter. Check out that interview below:

Queer, Trans Advocate Andy Izenson Wants to Take Us Back to Our Roots
What happens when we go beneath the surface?
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With that, let’s get to it!

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The Latest

🏳️‍🌈 After far-right customers and pundits called for widespread boycotts of companies like Target and Bud Light last year, brands are toning things down this Pride. (Michigan Advance)

🏳️‍🌈 Gentrification and climate change work to separate queer people from nature. (The Narwhal)

🏳️‍🌈 Workers at Philz, a coffee franchise mostly in California, unionized after multiple employees were told to remove their “Free Palestine” pins or “go home.” In addition to the incident, the workers were allegedly overworked and underpaid. (Jacobin)

🏳️‍🌈 From Assigned Media: The Washington Post and the Daily Beast have featured responsible, factual coverage of trans issues. That’s now threatened as two editors who helmed culture war focused papers have been put in charge.”

🏳️‍🌈 QueerAF broke down where the U.K. political parties stand on conversion therapy.

🏳️‍🌈 According to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, white nationalist and anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups are at an all-time high in the U.S. (South Dakota Searchlight)

🏳️‍🌈 The Colorado GOP posted hate speech, calling for the burning of pride flags this June because “God hates flags,” which is just one letter away from the infamous slogan of the Westboro Baptist Church, the hate group cult centered around cult leader Fred Phelps. Such a flagrantly bigoted message sends a dangerous message that will encourage violence against the LGBTQ+ community. (The New Republic)

🏳️‍🌈 Many people boycotted the Queens Pride Parade this year because its leader LGBT Network stands in support of Israel. However, the Queens Pride Parade started off as one of the more radical, non-corporate parades until it effectively “sold out” under LGBT Network’s leadership. In an effort to reclaim that radicalism, a group led by Tarab NYC decided to show up in full force for LGBTQ+ rights and visibility and a Free Palestine. (Hell Gate)

🏳️‍🌈 Earlier this month, there was a hearing for Ohio’s HB 245, which aims to ban “drag performers from performing in places that aren’t a designated adult entertainment facility.” A leader from designated hate-group Gays Against Groomers’ Florida chapter testified in favor of the bill. Opponents of the legislation fear that such a bill will lead to further discrimination against trans and gender-nonconforming individuals. (Ohio Capital Journal)

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Historical Context

🏳️‍🌈 Last month, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that they’ll be undergoing a rebrand in 2025, becoming Scouting America, in an effort to align better with their new, inclusive policies of open membership to everyone–not just boys. While many feel the rebrand is long overdue and a welcome change, many on the political Right are predictably outraged. YES! Magazine added historical context in their coverage of the pivot, noting that BSA has a long history of hiding pedophiles while vilifying gay people. The organization banned their membership in 1978 and only overturned the decision in 2013.

🏳️‍🌈 Jacobin took a look at historical and contemporary examples of labor rights movements that have “embraced LGBTQ equality reforms.”

🏳️‍🌈 Stepping into the past with Olympian Helen Stephens provided context to the modern trans sports bans. (Defector) For a more contemporary version of this phenomena, we can look across the pond in the U.K., where half-marathon winner, cisgender mother Anna Harrold was “met by slurs, harassment, and false claims that she was a trans woman.” (Assigned Media)

🏳️‍🌈 In 1948, Harvard’s Geography program was disbanded, partly due to the “rumored homosexuality of department chair Derwent Whittlesey.” Many Geography departments followed in Harvards’ closure, but queer writer and environmentalist Russell Reed petitioned for its return. He received the first Harvard Geography degree in 70 years. In his academic pursuit, he became increasingly aware of the connection between geography and queerness, and how, though the two are vilified, their connection can just as easily serve as guides for a better future. (Atmos)

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Positives & Resources

🏳️‍🌈 There’s an all-trans kids camp coming to Ohio this summer. (The Buckeye Flame)

🏳️‍🌈 Folks are putting out a list of “best practices,” in accordance with Title IX protections in CT, so that trans and other LGBTQ+ students are better served in schools. (CT Mirror)

🏳️‍🌈 There was recently a huge pride event in Motor City, Michigan. The same can be said of Ottawa County, defying the influential county GOP. (Michigan Advance)

🏳️‍🌈 Chappell Roan turned down an invitation to perform at the White House, which the singer announced at New York’s Governor’s Ball, dressed as the Statue of Liberty. (The New Republic)

🏳️‍🌈 Check out TransLash’s Trans-Affirming Pride Month Resource Guide.

🏳️‍🌈 Enjoy a stunning gallery of photos from the Cleveland Pride march and festival. (The Buckeye Flame) You can also take a peak at another beautiful, albeit smaller gallery of Pride events in Tennessee. (Tennessee Lookout)

🏳️‍🌈 A center and shelter for LGBTQ+ teens in Topeka, Kansas, called Braided Haven, is set to open in July. (Kansas Reflector)

🏳️‍🌈 From The Ring of Fire: “The state of Minnesota has officially made book bans illegal,” which is a huge win for education, freedom of information, and representation.


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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