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.

Your talking points and ‘culture war’ clickbait? It’s our lives
As a teenager, exploitative talk shows were the only time I regularly saw LGBTQIA+ people on TV. I know how hard it hits queer kids.
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And COUNTERPUNCH examines just how deadly the GOP’s mission is.

The GOP’s Culture Wars Would be Laughable If They Weren’t So Deadly
Republicans are resorting to their age-old tactic of manufactured moral outrage to distract from the fact that they have no economic agenda other than to
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And a new addition of ours, RELIGION DISPATCHES, takes a look at just how hypocritical and dishonest this anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is.

Lila Rose and the Right Resurrect Malicious Child Predator Myth Putting LGBTQ People in Even Greater Danger
In January the far-right website Townhall began publishing a four-part series on a so-called “Suburban LGBTQ Pedophile Ring.” The series, written by Townhall fact-checker Mia Cathell, claims to reveal “disturbing new details” about adoptive parents William and Zachary Zulock. Cathell, whose “fact-ch
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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.

HELL GATE, DEFECTOR, DISCOURSE BLOG and THE HUMANIST REPORT all had something to say about the deplorable state of the NYT.

NY Times: Our Trans Coverage Was Fine the First Time, Thanks - Hell Gate
To the Times, journalists demanding higher standards are now activists, which means their concerns don’t matter.
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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.

Episode 265 - The Trans Panic | Left Anchor
Today we’ve got Evan Urquahart and Michael Hobbes on to talk about the ongoing frenzy of bigotry directed at trans people, and why centrist and liberal reporters are feeding it.Evan covers trans issues at Assigned Media, while Michael is a journalist currently working on the Maintenance Phase and I…
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'Parental Rights'

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.

No more ‘gender unicorns’: Lawmakers debate new parents’ bill of rights legislation - Kansas Reflector
Education officials spoke against a new House bill that would let parents object to educational materials or activities they find offensive.
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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"

KENTUCKY LANTERN: "Max Wise’s bill to curb ‘woke agenda’ sparks plea for compassion from Senate colleague"

DAILY MONTANAN: "House advances obscenity bill that would subject school employees to criminal liability"

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.

Ron DeSantis Is Lying About Why Bookshelves in Florida Classrooms Are Empty
The Florida governor claims that it’s not his legislation that is limiting what books students can read. But local parents beg to differ.
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In fact, conditions are so abhorrent in Florida schools that queer parents have considered fleeing for their families’ safety.

More than half of queer Florida parents have considered fleeing the state in the wake of ‘Don’t Say Gay,’ study finds
Those are the stark findings from a study on the effects of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law just released by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
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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.

Bill to ban gender-affirming care for minors advances in both Tennessee House and Senate – Tennessee Lookout
A bill to ban physicians from treating transgender minors with gender-affirming care moved forward in both chambers of Tennessee’s legislature
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NC POLICY WATCH examines just how terrifying these results could be for trans youth.

‘Completely and utterly terrifying.’ Transgender youth face uncertain future as legislation targets their identities.
Transgender youth face uncertain future as North Carolina Republican legislators advance legislation targeting their identities
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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.”  

Missouri agencies launch investigation into health center for transgender youth • Missouri Independent
Three Missouri agencies are investigating the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
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Folks in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Kansas who support trans rights are making their voices heard.

Celebrating Wins

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.

New leave policies allow LGBTQIA+ folks to care for chosen family
Chosen family-inclusive leave policies offer flexibility for non-nuclear families and have precedent stretching back to the Vietnam War
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The Senate Civil Rights Committee in Michigan passed legislation banning discrimination on the basis of gender and sexuality.

In ‘historic’ vote, Senate civil rights committee passes bill to protect LGBTQ+ Michiganders ⋆ Michigan Advance
“This is historic,” state Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) said Thursday afternoon as he stood in a room where, just minutes earlier, lawmakers on the Senate’s Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee passed his bill that would expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) and prohibi…
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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.”

Cerise Castle Wins Prestigious Journalism Award for ‘A Tradition of Violence’ - Knock LA
Cerise Castle has received the American Mosaic Journalism Prize for her vital reporting on LASD gangs and their ongoing history of violence.
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A bill was introduced in Oregon that would ban conversion therapy.

Oregon bill would ban therapists from trying to change a person’s sexual orientation – Oregon Capital Chronicle
Oregon may become the first state to ban counselors and therapists from practicing conversion therapy on all patients.
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The Church of England will now bless same-sex couples. (If you’re into that.)

The Church of England will finally bless same-sex couples
The Church of England made several headlines this week. But what has changed for queer Christians?
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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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