Writing this newsletter every two weeks as a queer person is an exercise in patience. As a journalist, my relationship with my gender is something that I often disregard. As a person, I am both tethered to and divided from this multi-tiered part of myself. I am inseparable from “woman,” but that doesn’t exactly feel like the right classification either. My relationship with my body as it relates to my gender is steady—healthy even. It’s really the way that this gender, this fluidity, presents itself upon my body, how it is perceived in this world. I recognize that this ability to be so candid about this state of flux is a privilege. I recognize that my relationship with my body as it relates to my gender being healthy is a privilege. I also recognize that even in this sometimes detachment from my own sense of self is a byproduct of living under a patriarchal regime, one that genders us before we even enter the world via reveal parties and color-coded nurseries. But I also recognize that I know myself profoundly, that no one else knows who I am, what I need, and what this body calls for in this very binaried world.
I am. We are. That’s the truth of the matter. Queer and trans identities are being questioned, pried open, challenged, dismissed, and banned worldwide. A 30-year-old woman burned a gay flag in SoHo just a few days ago. Over 300 anti-trans bills have been introduced in states over the past few years. Political candidates are campaigning with LGBTQ+ lives on the ballot. It seems that “America” is really just control masked as liberty. We are to be trusted with our own bodies, our own histories, our own truths. No one else has the right—or should have the right—to tell us otherwise.
But I think it has grown increasingly obvious that this isn’t about concern, safety, or protection, but about the sheer and exacting desire for control on behalf of the far right. This type of scapegoating has a long history, one that’s quite deadly.
One of our newest participating outlets, QUEERAF, speaks to this “culture war” being a battle for our lives.
And COUNTERPUNCH examines just how deadly the GOP’s mission is.
And a new addition of ours, RELIGION DISPATCHES, takes a look at just how hypocritical and dishonest this anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is.
My mother meditates everyday, and she pulls a card to guide her practice. This morning, the card read, “I am love.” I hope we can find truth in that statement as we continue our work.
With that, let’s get to it.
The NYT Chooses J.K. Rowling
On Feb. 15, nearly 200 current and past NYT contributors signed a letter sent to Philip B. Corbett, the paper’s associate managing editor for standards. In it, they detailed a long, extensive list of inaccuracies and bias in NYT reporting, as it relates to their recent coverage of trans lives.
The letter was poignant, respectful, and most importantly, truthful. The next day, the NYT published a column penned by Pamela Paul, a frequent writer of transphobic rhetoric op-eds, titled, “In the Defense of J.K. Rowling.” In it, she compares Rowling to Salman Rushdie and lists many of Rowling’s previous transphobic statements, calling them “not transphobic.” If anything, it’s a piece that will leave you wondering how the hell Paul was ever the head of The New York Times Book Review.
The NYT responded to the letter a day later in a brief paragraph that was unsurprising but nevertheless cruel, as it dismissed any allegations of wrongdoing.
I don’t normally link to this many of our participating outlets’ articles in one shot, but I think the number of responses to the NYT's blatant transphobia tells us a lot about the disparity in reporting and care between independent and corporate media.
In its latest podcast, LEFT ANCHOR speaks to the trans panic that is (still) plaguing our country and how the NYT is adding fuel to the fire.
That fire has engulfed our education system, especially because the right has discovered an easier way to infiltrate schools with its bigotry: the parents. As politicians have continued to push their “anti-woke” agenda, while somehow making “woke” a bad thing, they’ve created a fear-mongering campaign that has parents worried about their children. This worry stems from the fact that they might feel bad about racism, that they might learn about LGBTQ+ rights and issues, and that sex education might be taught…at all. The alternative to that learning? Tax-funded vouchers that would pay for a private education at schools, some religious, that have curricula "the parents approve of,” banned books and classes, more parent-involved instruction, and a worsening education crisis that removes critical thinking and awareness of both oneself and others.
STATES NEWSROOM and its member outlets have covered “parental rights” in schooling quite a bit these last two weeks.
STATES NEWSROOM/NEBRASKA EXAMINER: "U.S. House GOP preps for debates on parents’ rights, school vouchers and transgender athletes"
IOWA CAPITAL DISPATCH: "House panel expands bill that bans teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity"
We can thank Libs of TikTok and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for much of this widespread rhetoric, and even with DeSantis’ desire to institute an “anti-woke curriculum,” he continues to lie about why the bookshelves are empty in his schools.
In fact, conditions are so abhorrent in Florida schools that queer parents have considered fleeing for their families’ safety.
Also leading the fight in the realm of “parental rights” is Moms for Liberty, an advocacy group founded in Florida in 2021. It’s been responsible for a large number of book bannings, as well as school districts considering and introducing parental bills of rights. As is usually the case with far-right conservative groups, “liberty” is reserved for a limited sect of people.
State legislatures and anti-trans groups are still continuing their fight to ban trans healthcare around the country.
One such bill is advancing in Tennessee.
NC POLICY WATCH examines just how terrifying these results could be for trans youth.
A “whistleblower” in Missouri has called lawmakers to investigate the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. This whistleblower first shared her story with ex-NYT writer Bari Weiss, whose media site is producing a podcast called “The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling.”
As always, I like to end the newsletter with some LGBTQ+ wins that have happened over the past two weeks.
States including Oregon and California have passed new leave policies, which allow LGBTQ+ individuals to care for their chosen family.
The Senate Civil Rights Committee in Michigan passed legislation banning discrimination on the basis of gender and sexuality.
TRANSLASH discusses the beauty of the film Kokomo City, a documentary that depicts the lives of four Black trans women.
Cerise Castle won the American Mosaic Journalism Prize for “A Tradition of Violence,” KNOCK LA’s groundbreaking 15-part series on LASD deputy gangs.”
A bill was introduced in Oregon that would ban conversion therapy.
The Church of England will now bless same-sex couples. (If you’re into that.)
And the NFL apologized for all those weird Jesus-y commercials that they forced us to watch last Sunday! (Just kidding…).
That’s all from me. I’ll see you in two weeks.
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