Queer Catch Up: Friday, Oct. 25, 2019
Welcome back to yungmiga’s Queer Catch Up, a weekly post where folks can catch up recent queer news and pop culture.
Federal judge overturns ObamaCare transgender protections, ruling that the 2016 policy is a religious freedom violation of Christian providers. The Hill reported: “Judge Reed O’Connor in the Northern District of Texas vacated an Obama-era regulation that prohibited insurers and providers who receive federal money from denying treatment or coverage to anyone based on sex, gender identity or termination of pregnancy.
"It also required doctors and hospitals to provide “medically necessary” services to transgender individuals as long as those services were the same ones provided to other patients. O’Connor, the same judge who last year ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, said the rule violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. His ruling is likely to be appealed.”
A Georgia school district reverses transgender-friendly bathroom policy after their board members, employees and students received death threats. Board of Education for Pickens County School released a press release that stated:
"There have been many serious safety concerns raised in the past few days. School board members, staff, and students have been threatened due to the administration’s implementation of Adams vs. St. John’s County School District. There have been death threats, student harassment, and vandalism of school property. The District understands and acknowledges that it has the responsibility to protect its staff and students. However, the District has concerns that it may not be able to meet these recently increased demands. Therefore, the District shall return to bathroom procedures in place at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year until it can consult with law enforcement and other safety professionals so that these concerns may be addressed.”
Wisconsin woman was fired from restaurant for refusing to serve transphobic customers. Brittany Spencer was working at Fat Joe’s Bar & Grill in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, as a server when one of the tables she was waiting began to make transphobic comments to her. KATC reported: “‘They were asking me if I thought it was disgusting and wrong and why we would let someone like that into the establishment," Spencer said. "To which I answered, no, I do not agree with that and walked away.’According to ownership at Fat Joe's, both groups are regulars at the bar. Spencer says she went to her manager to ask if someone else could serve the table because she didn't feel comfortable.‘[My manager] essentially told me to suck it up or go home,’ Spencer said. ‘To which I said, OK. I will leave.’”
Photo of BB Hill.
Another transgender woman was murdered, this time in Kansas City. The suspect waited at scene to be arrested by authorities. Newsweek reported: “Brianna "BB" Hill was shot and killed at 11:30 a.m. local time on Monday. Hill was the second transgender person murdered in the Kansas City area this year. Her death is estimated to be the 21st such killing nationwide. Police have not reported a motive for the murder nor released the suspect's name.”
Ugandan LGBTQ+ activist Brian Wasswa is killed on Oct. 5, one day after they were attacked in their home. NBC reports: “The death of Wasswa, who was gay and gender-nonconforming, comes as human rights advocates have been sounding the alarm that the Ugandan government is ramping up pressure on the country’s LGBTQ community by threatening to reconsider the infamous 2014 “Kill the Gays” bill that increased the penalty for homosexuality from life in prison to death.”
Comcast executive sues the company alleging he was discriminated against for being gay. NBC reports: “A senior executive at Comcast Corp. alleges that during his 18-year tenure at the company, he was routinely discriminated against because of his sexual orientation, despite serving as a public face for the media giant’s diversity efforts.
In a 45-page federal lawsuit filed last week, Klayton Fennell, the company’s senior vice president of government affairs, claims that he was denied equal pay, passed over for promotions and called a derogatory name by an unnamed colleague due to his sexuality. He also alleges that he was retaliated against after he filed a discrimination complaint against the company last year with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”
Tanning salons in cities across the United States seem to cluster in neighborhoods with a higher gay and bisexual male population, suggesting that it “might be one reason for higher skin cancer rates among sexual minority men,” Reuters reported.
More than one dozen prison employees are under investigation after being accused of mocking transgender inmates on Facebook groups such as purposely using incorrect pronouns and and transphobic language on posts, CNN reported.
Pink News reported that homophobia is increasing among young people in the UK, with internet hate being the one to blame. Pink News reported: “A new report has shown that homophobia is on the rise among young people, with one in four 18-24 year olds believing being LGBT+ is “immoral or against their beliefs”, higher than any other age group. According to the Hate Crime Report 2019, by LGBT+ anti-violence charity Galop, young people are showing increasingly polarised views about LGBT+ people.”
Frank Ocean Launched Queer Club Night in New York named “PrEP+” to pay homage to “what could have been of the 1980s NYC club scene” if there were HIV preventing drugs then. There are mixed reviews.
Los Angeles Blade photo by Daniel Sliwa
Protesters interrupt CNN-Human Rights Campaign town hall to highlight the dangers black transgender women face. Protesters held up a transgender pride flags with the words "we are dying" written on it and shouted: “Trans people are dying!” and "Do something!"
Screenshot from the app.
A new "DNA app" is falsely claiming that it can tell how gay someone is.
A developer using the name Joel Bellenson, allegedly an employee for Insolent AI, created and put out a DNA app which is supposed to tell you how gay someone is using a study published earlier this year. However, the app can't do this because there is no one "gay gene."
In case you missed it: LGBTQ+ arts, culture and life
Cosmo published an essential safe sex guide for folks with vaginas:
"If you're a lesbian, bisexual, pansexual or queer woman, or someone who has a vagina and sleeps with vagina-having people, it's likely you haven't had the sexual health education you need. School sex ed is so heteronormative that many of us never heard so much of a mention of vulva-to-vulva sex. It's no wonder many queer folk don't realize STIs can be transmitted through fingering, oral sex and sharing sex toys.This gap in our knowledge is nothing to be ashamed of. Safe sex for LGBTQ+ women, non-binary, trans and intersex people is just rarely (if ever) efficiently covered in school.So here's your essential safe sex guide, courtesy of Linnéa Haviland from sexual health service SH:24."
Latinx photographer Laura Aguilar explored her own identity through her photography. In her photos, she challenged what society traditionally thinks of beauty. She also celebrated the Latinx, lesbian and working-class communities in East Los Angeles. Aguilar died last year at the age of 58 but the J. Paul Getty Museum acquired some of them, allowing them to be preserved forever.
The Touching History: Stonewall 50 exhibit at the Palm Springs Museum of Art announced there will be two large photographs by disabled queer artist and activist Robert Andy Coombs.
From the museum website, "Touching History commemorates the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, a landmark uprising against police harassment and social injustice that sparked the gay liberation movement and the modern struggle for LGBTQ civil rights. Bringing together an intergenerational group of contemporary artists working in photography and collage, this exhibition explores queer kinship, care, and community through the immediacy and intimacy of touch."
The exhibit runs from Oct. 12, 2019 - March 19, 2020
Lesbians Fall Flat First Bollywood Lesbian RomCom “Ek Ladki,” said Nirali Sheth wrote for Autostraddle. Sheth expresses disappointment in how the film didn’t get any press. Sheth wrote: “In early 2019, Bollywood broke brand new ground by showcasing the first lesbian romantic comedy in Indian film history, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga. Not only that, but major superstars had signed onto the project: Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, and Rajkumar Rao. You would think the Hindi film industry would be celebrating this momentous achievement. So the film comes out, and nothing. I only heard of this movie when my non-Indian friends alerted me to it. There was zero press. Not even Film Companion, my favorite Bollywood review — and non-review — channel, posted anything about this film.”
Oscar Prospects tackles toxic masculinity and parallels the Joker in the queer short film, “Balloons.” The short film follows 14-year-old Sam, played by Jonah Beres, who is being bullied and pressured to fight back; abandoned by his closet friend; and now is recently discovering superpowers. “Balloon” debuted online today and is exclusively on IndieWire.
Joan Jett Blakk wins the 2019 Queer|Art|Prize for sustained achievement. ARTFORUM reported: “Queer|Art, the New York City–based organization dedicated to the creative and professional development of LGBTQ+ artists, named Joan Jett Blakk, also known as Terence Alan Smith, the drag performer and political activist who ran for president of the United States in 1992 to draw attention to the AIDS epidemic, the winner of its $10,000 sustained achievement award.”
Aaron and Sedric, the queer duo who make up “FHAT,” released a new single “Packin,’” which is filled with cute and innocent hidden meanings. The music video will be finished soon; it’s rumored to be inspired by the 1970s.
The Chicago Reader remembers lesbian history; a review on the “Lavender Women and Killer Dyers” exhibit. Cody Corrall wrote: “During the women's liberation movement in the 1970s and 1980s, lesbian activists played an integral role within both the feminist movement and the gay movement—but that legacy has largely been forgotten in mainstream teachings. A new exhibition at Gerber/Hart Library and Archives aims to change that. "Lavender Women & Killer Dykes: Lesbians, Feminism, and Community in Chicago," which is cosponsored by the Chicago Women's History Center, spotlights the work of lesbians during those decades in Chicago. This includes establishing community and health centers, political action groups, independent publications, bookstores, bars, restaurants, and more.
Want more? Dig these reads.
10 Ways to Keep Queer Culture Alive in Atlanta by Mike Fleming | Project Q
Putting HIV prevention back at the centre of Brazil’s LGBTI pride | Press Release | UNAIDS
Smutty Fanfiction Taught Me More About Queer Sex Than School Ever Could by Lauren Strapagiel | Buzzfeed
Today's Queer Latinx Representation On TV Is Everything I Needed Growing Up by Priscilla Blossom | Oprah Magazine
Scottee’s New Show 'Class' Will Force You to Acknowledge Your Privilege by Sam Damshenas | Gay Times
Documenting queer history on the Central Coast by Tyler Pratt | Central Coast Public Radio
How Fashion Gave Queer Art Its Renaissance by Joe Bobowicz | I.D. / Vice
In Transition: Hawai‘i’s Transgender Teens by Cynthia Wessendorf | Honolulu Magazine
Black lesbian Ernestine Eckstein was protesting when most gays thought protests were crazy by Michael Bedwell | LGBTQ Nation
10 Queer Movies on Revry to Watch for LGBTQ History Month by Mey Rude | Q Voice News
[Horror Queers] Boring Men and Bisexual Erasure in ‘Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction’ by Joe Lipsett | BloodyDisgusting
Police are 'deadnaming' transgender murder victims — here's what that means, and why it makes tracking crimes so much more difficult by Tracey Eaton | Insider
Should You Be Using Gender-Neutral Language With Your Kids? by A.M. O’Connor | SheKnows
Drag magazine Louche explores new frontiers in queer performance by Sophie Walsh | Dazed Digital