Queer Catch Up: Friday, Nov. 22, 2019
Welcome to back to YUNGMIGA’s Friday Queer Catch-Up, a weekly post where folks can catch up recent LGBTQ+ news and pop culture.
LOCAL NEWS ROUND UP
The Chicago Park District’s Queering the Parks group gave queer youth the opportunity to be royalty at their own LGBTQ+ homecoming, “MasQUEERade Ball.” The event was free and open to all but centered around young people ages 13-to-24-years-old; however, adult queers were also welcome to attend.
University of Illinois social work professor Ryan Wade and University of Michigan professor of health behavior and health education Gary W. Harper developed a scale to help researchers better understand how the psychological well-being of ethnic minorities is affected by racialized sexual discrimination (RSD) experiences.
Stereotypes and RSD are omnipresent in online and mobile apps that gay and bisexual men use for searching for sexual and romantic partners, research indicates.
The High School District 211 in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs Palatine and Schaumburg will now give trans students in the five high schools within the district “unrestricted access” to locker rooms and bathroom. Until now, trans students were not allowed to do so and had to go to the nurse’s office or private stalls.
The lawsuit against the district was initially filed in 2015 by an unnamed student who wanted access to use the school restrooms and locker rooms of their identified gender just like other students. After four years of legal battles, the school district decided to end the lawsuit. According to WBBM-TV, the district's superintendent said that the new policy would require transgender students, along with their parents, to "have communication with the district and come up with a plan."
Windy City News reported: "A group of suburban activists plan what they say will be a "family-friendly" protest on Nov. 14, the opening day of a new Deerfield Chick-fil-A franchise.Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has long caught the ire of the many in the LGBT community, largely because of CEO Dan Cathy's 2012 statements against marriage equality. Though Cathy and officials tried to walk back those statements to varying degrees, the company has reportedly given to organizations with anti-LGBT stances since since.
Carolyn Pinta, whose daughter Molly helped conceive of the Buffalo Grove Pride Parade, and who is co-organizing the Deerfield protest, said that residents conceived of the protest "organically."A Deerfield resident, Adrienne Schwarzbach-Johnson, asked fellow posters to a community Facebook group what they thought about the pending Chick-fil-A franchise. "It just absolutely blew up," Pinta said. "People were really upset about it.""
Photo via Instagram
Canadian queer author Robin Stevenson said an Illinois school canceled her visit in response to a complaint from a ‘homophobic’ parent. Stevenson is the award-winning author of "Kid Activists: True Tales of Childhood from Champions of Change." She was due to give a talk about the book at Longfellow Elementary School in Wheaton, Illinois. Stevenson said the school’s vice president asked for a list of the activists mentioned in the book, then "abruptly informed her the day before the visit that they would be cancelling without explanation," Pink News reported.
“This action sends a very harmful message to students, particularly students who are themselves LGBTQ+ or have family members who are part of the LGBTQ+ community,” Stevenson wrote in an open letter to the school.
“It says their lives can’t be talked about, that their very existence is seen as shameful or dangerous. It says that no matter how significant their accomplishments, or how much they contribute to the world, they can be erased and made invisible because of who they are. It reinforces ignorance and bigotry.”
NATIONAL NEWS ROUND UP
Reachers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, found that approximately 38 percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual adults use e-cigarettes compared to their heterosexual counterparts who were at 19.8. Baylor researchers also found that gay, lesbian and bisexual people are more likely to smoke cigarettes and marijuana, or use all three.
The Salt Lake City VA’s program, Gender Identity Veteran Experience (GIVE), began in 2008 and has expanded within the past five years. Services include transgender and intersex support groups, look at gender dysphoria, which is a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which they identify. It can cause significant stress, in addition to PTSD connected with military service.
The logo and motto for the Gender Identity Veteran Experience (GIVE) program at the VA in Salt Lake City.
Trans advocates are worried that North Carolina’s new state law which requires voters to provide a photo ID at the polls in 2020 will lead to discrimination and disenfranchisement of trans and gender non-conforming voters. Advocates worry “because many gender nonconforming people are often unable to afford legal name changes, including on driver’s license, WBTV reported.
During an election earlier this month, a transgender woman was asked to show her ID at a polling station in Cornelius, WBTV reported. The new law isn’t in effect yet.vMichael Dickerson, the elections director for Mecklenburg County, told WBTV that a precinct worker asked for a curbside voter’s name, and when the voter provided the name that is listed on her ID, the worker called for the precinct’s supervisor because the provided name “sounded to the poll worker like a masculine name.”
D.C. police are searching for a man who chased two men into an apartment building lobby with a machete in the NoMa area last week. Police say they are investigating the incident as a possible anti-gay attack.
New Michigan rules will allow transgender people to easily change gender identity on their driver's licenses and state-issued IDs under new rules from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
This change is effective immediately and all people who would like to correct the sex designation on their driver's license or ID card can do so. They will now just have to fill out a form, go to a Secretary of State branch to have their photo taken and pay the $9 correction fee for a driver's license or $10 for a state ID. People will no longer need to provide a birth certificate, passport or court order. The old policy required those documents to change the sex-indicator on a driver's license.
"The government must work for everyone," Benson said at a news conference, stressing she is committed to making Michigan an "inclusive, welcoming environment" for all.
Photo by Albert Herring
Historians at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia will soon offer a guide showing the lives of queer filks living in the 1700s.
“Human beings who operate outside of sexual and gender expectations have always existed within and contributed to our history,” wrote Beth Kelly, vice president of Education, Research, and Historical Interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, in an internal memo. “Sharing this history is vital if we are committed to telling a holistic narrative of our past.”
The Washington Post reported that LGBTQ+ staff have encouraged the inclusion of queer history at the living history museum for years. Aubrey Moog-Ayers, an apprentice weaver who identifies as queer, said guests have asked her about whether cross-dressers or gay men lived in colonial times there. She has shared her own research.
“I’m queer, and I wanted to see if that was something that existed, if I could see myself in the past,” she said.
The Education, Research, and Historical Interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has created a committee to research the history of “gender and sexually nonconforming people.” Source books and guides will be generated from findings.
A trans woman said she was humiliated when Utah state employees said she had to remove her makeup or her ID photo. Jaydee Dolinar, a University of Utah doctoral student and geology instructor, said: “Just being a member of the trans community, I’m used to being discriminated against on a daily basis unfortunately.”
The employee took her picture; however, Dolinar said a supervisor told her she would have to take her makeup off “because my appearance didn’t match my gender, it wouldn’t be able to be picked up by face recognition software,” Dolinar said.
When she asked what she should do, “She said, ‘Well, we have hand sanitizer you can use.’ Alright, so I used the hand sanitizer and paper towels and scrubbed it all off,” she said.
She scrubbed it off in the middle of the driver’s license office, as everyone watched, Dolinar said, something humiliating for her. The Utah Driver License Division told WDAM that there was a miscommunication with the supervisor over policy and that this shouldn’t have ever happened.
“Policy misinterpretation? No, it was discriminatory, you know, completely discriminatory,” Dolinar said.
Her temporary license is a picture of her with lipstick smeared across her face.
“It hurts a lot,” Dolinar said.
Filmmaker Sal Bardo and other LGBTQ+ content creators, joined an amended lawsuit alleging discrimination, against Google and YouTube.
The suit alleges that YouTube had been demonetizing LGBTQ+ related videos, placing them in restricted mode without warning and hiding the videos from search results (shadow ban).
Stanford students launched “Queer Chart,” a start up intended to connect queer students across campus; however, there was a security flaw: total user access to vulnerable data.
This flaw allowed users to access other users’ names, profile pictures, email addresses, dates of birth, pronouns, schools and anonymous IDs (online alias).
The startup was launched in early October but was taken offline last week, with a post on the website: “Queer Chart is offline a little for some maintenance! Expect an email soon when we are back :).”
At the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality annual conference, researchers presented information from a study that for bisexual people in mixed-gender relationships, their rate of sexual satisfaction were lower if they were out to their family, friends and partners.
On the other hand, the study found that the partners of bisexual people in the mixed-gender relationship had reported higher levels of sexual and romantic satisfaction when their partners were out. Researchers tied these findings to internal conflict that bi-erasure creates for bisexual people in mixed-gender relationships.
The Campaign for Southern Equality and Western North Carolina Community Health Services released their 2019 Southern LGBTQ Health Survey earlier this month. The survey had 5,617 participants from 13 different states, which makes it the largest known survey for health issues of LGBTQ+ living in the South. The survey provides a different perspective on the health and healthcare experiences of LGBTQ+ people living in the South.
Georgia police said they had arrested more than 25 people after “ultra-nationalist” protesters attempted to hinder the premiere of “And Then We Danced;” an award-winning movie about two young male Georgian ballet dancers who fall in love.
More than one hundred demonstrators blocked the road outside the cinema and chanted “Long live Georgia” and “Shame.” Some of the protesters held crosses and other religious icons; burned rainbow pride flags and threw firecrackers and smoke bombs at people who trying to enter into the cinema.
Riot police held back the protesters who attempted to force their way inside the cinema. Police said two officers and a woman who was attempted to go watch the film were injured.
California Catholic high school students staged a walkout last week after a gay classmate said she was singled out by school officials; threatening to “out” her to her parents, who were not aware of her sexual orientation. Magali Rodriguez is a high school senior at Bishop Amat Memorial High School, the largest Catholic school in the Los Angeles area, for three years.
According to Buzzfeed, the “school has no written policy barring same-sex relationships, but Rodriguez said that once she began dating a female student she was forced into disciplinary meetings and counseling, and barred from sitting next to her girlfriend at lunch. If she didn't follow these rules — which didn't apply to straight students in relationships.”
Chick-fil-A Loyola Water Tower/Facebook
BISNOW report: "Beginning next year, Chick-fil-A will move away from its current philanthropic structure, Bisnow has learned. After donating to more than 300 charitable organizations this year, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain will instead focus on three initiatives with one accompanying charity each: education, homelessness and hunger. “There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos said in an interview with Bisnow. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.” The new initiative will no longer include donating to organizations like the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home, Chick-fil-A says, all of which sparked criticism in the past from the LGBT community due to the organizations’ stances on homosexuality. The move comes after several U.S. airports rejected the company from concessions deals earlier this year. More recently, the landlord of the first Chick-fil-A in the U.K. announced eight days into its lease the pop-up venue would not be welcome to extend — all because of the company’s perceived anti-LGBT stance."
Last week, Mastercard announced that BMO Harris and Superbia Credit Union will be the first issuers to implement the “True Name” feature for their card offerings. This allows people to use their name on their eligible credit, debit or prepaid cards, without the requirement of a legal name change.
“We are thrilled to have the very first issuers of the True Name feature on board, allowing us to propel one of our key values, unconditional acceptance,” EVP Marketing & Communications at Mastercard Cheryl Guerin said.
“At Mastercard, we strive to cultivate a culture of inclusion that extends both internally and externally. We are continuing to call on the industry to help us ensure that each and every person’s financial products can reflect their true identity,” Guerin said.
A 25-year-old transgender woman and former Dunkin’ Donuts employee, known as Jane Doe, is suing the company in federal court. Her lawsuit says that while she worked at a Pennsylvania Dunkin’ Donuts between March and May 2018, she was bullied, harassed and beaten due to her trans identity and HIV-positive status. Doe is filing anonymously in fear of retaliation and further violence if she disclosed her name.
Lehigh Valley Live reported that Doe’s suit says shift supervisor at Dunkin’ Donuts refused to acknowledge her gender identity; he kept calling Doe a “dude” and using male pronouns to identify her. Both customers and coworkers would reference her with male pronouns and derogatory homorphobic and transphobic slurs.
Doe’s supervisor did not stand up for her when customers refused to be served by her and the suit alleges that she was told to go by the cooler to wait. She was also told to not use the women's room because customers “weren’t comfortable” with her in the women’s restroom.
According to the lawsuit, a group of three customers attacked her; allegedly calling her a “f----t” and threatening to kill her.
Doe reported the incident to police and Dunkin’ management the day she was attacked. Her manager, Stephanie Almanzar allegedly told her, “If you don’t feel safe, go home.” She left and was told that her name would be removed from the schedule. She later learned her name was permanently removed from the schedule, according to the suit.
Doe seeks more than $150,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. Additionally, she is asking for a neutral job reference from Dunkin' Donuts along with the company adopting a trans-inclusive anti-bias policy that prevents misgendering at the donut shop and allows trans employees to use gender-appropriate restrooms at the shop.
Doe's 57-page lawsuit was filed Nov. 8. It has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Leeson Jr. of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Doe has requested a jury trial.
Last week, Rhode Island’s governor ceremoniously signed a piece of legislation aimed at making it easier for veterans to get their entitled state and local benefits if they were discharged from the military based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The bill was officially signed in June.
"In the state of Rhode Island, if you're a veteran who's served, you oughta be eligible for veterans benefits that the state provides," Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, told WLNE-TV.
The bill will provide veterans with a better process to upgrade their discharge status to “honorable,” which allow them to begin receiving state and local veteran benefits.
“Far too many veterans have been discharged, shamed and left without the benefits they earned because of decades of a dehumanizing policy that said they couldn’t serve,” Rhode Island Sen. Dawn Euer, one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement. “They deserved gratitude and honor, and we should be doing everything we can to ensure that these wrongs are righted and that they get the respect they deserve.”
Kansas City approved an ordinance which would banning conversion therapy. It applies to minors and licensed medical or mental health professionals; however, it does not apply to religious leaders.
Conversion therapy tries to change a gay or transgender person’s sexual orientation or gender identity through sometimes torturous methods. According to the American Psychological Association, conversion therapy can cause serious mental health harm.
Conversion therapy was also banned in Columbia, Missouri, and last week, a St. Louis aldermanic committee approved a similar legislation, sending the legislation to the St. Louis’ full Board of Alderman.
The New York court system is going to expand jury documents to be more gender inclusive. NYCBS reported that the state court spokesman Lucian Chalfen said the updated system is going to have the new juror information card ready for distribution by early January. The cards in questions are the documents that inform people when they have to attend jury duty. New gender options will include the female, male, transgender, nonbinary, intersex and other. Currently, the cards only have two options: male and female.
NYCBS reported: "The court system is also changing up its juror questionnaire, which is used during the jury selection process and features a question with a check box for female or male. The updated document will offer a question asking a person how they would like to be addressed.“People don’t easily fit into boxes that can be checked,” said state Sen. Brad Hoylman. The Manhattan Democrat said strict binary options may leave out New Yorkers who do not identify as male or female or do not want to identify."
INTERNATIONAL NEWS ROUND UP
GLAAD released its annual study of LGBTQ+ characters on television. This year’s report found that approximately 10.2 percent of regular, recurring characters on scripted broadcast primetime television this season were LGBTQ+. This met GLAAD’s 2018 goal of reaching a 10 percent threshold by 2020. By 2025, GLAAD is aiming for 35 percent.
Some are saying that the goal was met early due to the influential TV producers Lena Waithe, Greg Berlanti, Ryan Murphy and LGBT+ ally Shonda Rhimes. The LGBTQ characters in their 22 shows account for 14 percent of all LGBTQ+ character representation on scripted broadcast primetime television.
Video game, “Tell Me Why,” has the first transgender protagonist. Tell Me Why is one of the newest episodic narrative adventure games from DONTNOD Entertainment, the studio behind Life Is Strange.
“The core mechanic of the game is the special bond Tyler and Alyson share and is also a theme strongly anchored into the DONTNOD storytelling approach,” said Tell Me Why game director Florent Guillaume in a press statement.
London-based entrepreneur, Carmen Lui, launched “GI Collection,” the first lingerie brand for trans women in February 2019. The entire line sold out within days. Liu noticed that more than 50 percent of the line’s sales were from customers across the pond, which is what led to the expansion of the collection with eight more styles.
“I had this business idea circulating in my mind for two years, thinking of how I would design the lingerie if I had the opportunity,” Liu told Forbes. “I wouldn’t say there was a lightbulb moment as such. The idea hit me due to pure frustration of not being able to buy lingerie. Once I got the green light I began working 16 hours most days to cover every detail and possible option that would benefit and bring positive change to our community.”
Since the legalization of gay marriage in Denmark and Sweden, suicide rates have dropped among people in same-sex relationships, according to a study.
The joint study between the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention and Stockholm University compared suicide rates of people in same-sex and people in heterosexual relationships between the years 1989-2002 and 2003-2016.
Denmark was the first country in the world to grant same-sex civil partnerships in 1989. Sweden followed suit six years later.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Sweden in 2009 and Denmark in 2012.
Photo via Ru Paul's Twitter
Drag queen Pissi Myles of Asbury Park, New Jersey was at Capitol Hill for the Trump impeachment hearings on Wednesday dressed in a red pleather mini and a blonde bouffant wig. “It’s a crazy day in Washington! I’m flipping my wig over the high-energy proceedings today," Myles told NBC News. "Tensions are high, and the bar for who’s allowed in the Longworth House is very, very low.”
In Case You Missed It: LGBTQ+ Arts, Culture & Life
WATCH: Here's How 90s Sitcoms Treated Gay Characters
Kia LaBeija’s (Untitled) The Black Act (2019), was presented as part of the Performance Space New York’s contribution to Performa 2019. hyperallergic reported: "successfully spars with the legacy of its Bauhaus forebear. It is a read in both senses: a close and methodical look at Oskar Shlemmer’s Triadic Ballet (1922) — specifically the third series or act, The Black Act — and an almost indistinguishable riff on its shortcomings which simultaneously points to them and spectacularly upends them.
"In line with this year’s theme, all the works in Performa 2019 take Bauhaus, the German fine art school distinguished by its utopian emphasis on multi-disciplinarity, as their inspiration.
"Shlemmer’s Triadic Ballet, for example, combined his studies as a cubist painter and sculptor, his admiration for ballet and pantomime, and his understanding of theatrical lighting and costumes to comment on the effect of modernization on the human body. The outlandish performance had no traditional plot and was more of an exploration in movement, featuring exaggerated geometric costumes and stiff, marionette-like choreography."
QUICK POP CULTURE: Netflix announced a reboot of the classic 1980s cartoon "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power." The show would introduce its first “non-binary” character, “Double Trouble” (voiced by Jacob Tobia). In a previous season, She-Ra had two gay dads and included a lesbian subtext in one of the cartoon relationships.
WATCH: new car ad aims for LGBTQ+ audience
QUICK POP CULTURE: The podcast FriGay the 13th, by co-hosts Matty Zaradich and Andrew Huff, use LGBTQ+ view point to discuss horror in entertainment, horror in real life and each other.
WATCH: A new advertisement for Sprite celebrating Marcha de Orgullo, Bueno Aires Pride, has gone viral in Argentina with the hashtag #NoEstasSolx (You Are Not Alone).
QUICK POP CULTURE: Jessica Biel Stars as Lesbian Journalist in “Limetown,” a Dark Lil Thriller
Five artists won southeastern Wisconsin's prestigious prize for individual artists, the Mary L. Nohl Fellowship. The artists and their work are:
The Nohl fund gives two established artists $20,000 and three emerging artists $10,000 each to create new work or to complete work they have in progress. The funds are given in memory of the deceased artist Nohl and are unrestricted. The 17th annual competition had 159 applicants.
The five winners will participate in a Haggerty Museum of Art exhibit that opens in June 2020.
Established artist winners:
Video artist Cecelia Condit makes "feminist fairy tales" that "upend traditional mythology about women and explore issues of sexuality and violence," according to the Milwaukee Sentinel. Condit is a professor emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Film, Video, Animation and New Genres department.
Ras 'Ammar Nsoroma is a painter and muralist "who explores spiritual and cultural elements of the African Diaspora, with particular attention to the Orisha deities of the Yoruba people," according to the Milwaukee Sentinel.
Emerging artist winners:
LaNia Sproles draws, does printmaking, collages and assemblage "to conduct work that pays homage to imagery free from the barriers of social constructs and honest in its vulnerability," according to her artist statement.
Photographer Vaughan Larsen "explores issues of identity and relationships at the intersection of queer culture."
Feminist filmmaker Natasha Woods "investigates microhistories and counternarratives through manipulation of artifacts and archives."
WATCH: Singaporean popstar Wils' new video shows the loneliness of queer hookup culture
Almost 13 years after its first movie, the Disney franchise "High School Musical," is finally putting an out gay character in the newest film. Carlos, played by gay Latinx actor Frankie A. Rodriguez, In an interview with The Advocate, said he watched the original High School Musical film when it premiered in 2006 because “there was really nothing like it for my generation.”
“I think for Disney to take a chance like this, it’s very exciting. I can’t wait for [supportive fans] to actually see the show,” he said.
What We're Reading This Week
Queer Battles in Athens: Despite obstacles, LGBTQ+ Activism Continues Strong by Kyra Posey | Red and Black