Eight of the hopeful Republican Presidential candidates took the debate stage (Ohio Capital Journal) for the first time last night. The ninth, Donald Trump, refused to attend, likely because he needed his beauty rest before he turned himself in to Fulton County Jail in Atlanta today.

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The candidates’ positions on the stage were representative of where they were in the polls, so Florida Man Ron DeSantis was dead center. He favored the phrase “country in decline” and avoided questions like his face avoids forming a smile that doesn't appear to be excruciatingly painful. Nikki Haley actually answered most of the questions, had a few clear plans for her prospective presidency, and even admitted that climate change was real! She also, of course, stated that “women’s sports is the women’s issue of our time,” which comes at no surprise when you consider, among other things, that staunchly transphobic ex-University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines has become a spokesperson for the Republican Party. (The Kentucky Lantern)

We’re seeing the same rhetoric across the country, like this recent story in Wisconsin where three families want to pull their daughters off of their high school sports team if a transgender player is allowed to play. (Assigned Media) What Haley’s statement and these laws largely continue to ignore are the real inequities that have long-existed in women’s sports. (Kansas Reflector) Somehow, also in this vein is Chess, (Discourse Blog) which is notably not a sport and is best done while sitting down with one hand on your chin and the other perched atop your knee. The game has banned trans women (QueerAF) from participating in their tournaments for at least two years, amongst other new regulations. When asked about the logic behind these new rules, (Defector) the FIDE (the international governing body of chess) stated, “‘Of course men and women are equally intellectually capable…However, in chess as a sport other factors like physical endurance may play a role.’”

One of the biggest lies of the night came from upstart millennial candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who claimed that climate change is a hoax (The Nation). This just barely edged out another whopper that abortions are being provided up until “the day of birth.” Similarly, the GOP wants us to believe that trans people regret their surgeries and gender-affirming care, when studies have revealed the exact opposite. (Assigned Media) Sen. Tim Scott decided to use his closing statement to say, “If God made you a man, you play sports against men.” And as if it needed saying, that was certainly not the first or last time God was mentioned on stage.

What does seem worth mentioning is that freedom of religion and separation of church and state are in the Constitution that everyone also kept bringing up. One of the questions asked was about how to bring faith back into our country. I’m surprised Vice President Mike Pence didn’t bring out a tightly wound scroll of paper he had written in anticipation of such a question. Centering religion in schools and in our country seems to be a priority across the GOP field. Consider everyone’s favorite upstanding lawmaker Matt Gaetz, who was previously investigated for sex trafficking (no charges were brought). Gaetz wants to “reintroduce prayer in the classroom" and claimed that “students and faculty are prohibited from praying” (they're not). He said schools shouldn’t be focusing on the promotion of “degenerate” LGBTQ+ ideologies. The Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins absolutely goes off [*snaps*] on Gaetz in his recent video.

Somehow, there are folks who are hoping that conservatives become even “more homophobic,” calling LGBTQ+-identities a “predatory mental illness,” (The Majority Report) while some Republican voters (The Humanist Report) actually aren’t as concerned with “woke politics'' like corporate media and politicians will have us think. (Jacobin)

Such an idea, that conservatives ought to be even “more homophobic”  is a jarring one, especially when you consider Project 2025’s playbook, “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise,” a 920-document created by “coalition of prominent conservative organizations that includes the Claremont Institute, Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, Hillsdale College, Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works, American Legislative Exchange Council, American Principles Project, and dozens of others.” This first 180-day agenda works to criminalize LGBTQ+ people and identities, effectively removing our communities from the public sphere via force and legal action. (Dame Magazine)

All of this is to say, please register to vote.

With that, let’s get to it.

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The Latest

🏳️‍🌈 Stephen Miller filed a complaint against Kellogg’s for creating “woke” breakfast foods because the brand had pride-related marketing for some of their products. (The New Republic)

🏳️‍🌈 If you’re looking for ways to help LGBTQ+ People in Maui after the wildfires, TransLash put together a helpful list of places and people in need.

🏳️‍🌈 Since apparently a reminder is needed, Pride is first and foremost a protest that started in the wake of raids and police brutality against the LGBTQ+ community. Understandably so, many people think cops shouldn’t be allowed to participate in Pride marches or events. (Jacobin)

🏳️‍🌈 Anti-trans laws throughout the country are impacting and targeting incarcerated trans folks, forcing many of them to de-transition behind bars. Such policies are inhumane, undermine the importance of healthcare in prisons, and further bastardize any meaning of the word “justice.” (The Appeal)

🏳️‍🌈 Lawmakers in North Carolina overturned two of Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes last week, passing H.B. 808 and H.B. 574 into law, which prohibits gender-affirming care for minors and prevents trans girls and women from playing sports, respectively. (NC Newsline)

🏳️‍🌈 Astroturf extremist group Moms for Liberty is attempting to recruit new self-proclaimed “joyful warriors” in their crusade against the “dangerous cult” that is trans people. This is especially alarming considering the nearly 400 “education intimidation” bills that have been put forth by the GOP since 2021. (The New Republic)

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The Positives

🏳️‍🌈 A legal aid group in Nevada is helping LGBTQ+ individuals change their names and gender markers. (Nevada Current)

🏳️‍🌈 The Lionesses are taking England to the Women’s World Cup Final for the first time. (QueerAF)

🏳️‍🌈 In Minnesota, a state council has been created to advise legislatures on policies, laws, and decisions in order to achieve “‘economic, social, legal and political equality’ for LGBTQ residents.” (Minnesota Reformer)

🏳️‍🌈 Even with the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and legislation in the U.S., queer pro-wrestlers continue to pave the way toward equality and visibility in their industry. (Defector)

🏳️‍🌈 In New Jersey, three parental notification politics were blocked. According to The New Jersey Monitor, the “policies in question were amended in recent months to require administrators to notify parents about students who change their sexuality or gender expression by requesting a name or pronoun change, or by asking for bathroom, locker room, or sports accommodations.”

Remember education is power. Your voice is power. You are power. That’s all from me. I’ll see you in two weeks.

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