- January 2023
2022 brought the LGBTQ community some emphatic highs and lows.
The lows included Brittney Griner's arrest in Russia, Florida's Don't Say Gay law, a blizzard of anti-trans legislation across the nation, violence and threatened violence against drag events and Prides, and the murders at Club Q in Colorado.
The highs included the Biden administration securing Griner's release, the electoral rainbow wave, and the passing of the Respect for Marriage Act.
As to George Santos, the recent discovery that the apparently gay congressman-elect is a serial fabulist belongs in the category of the year's lows.
Or the year's low comedy. Take your pick.
- December 2022
- November 2022
This morning I was prepared to post about its being Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we hold up and mourn all the trans folks lost to violence in the past year.
Then I read about last night's shootings at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs. An armed 22-year-old murdered at least five people and injured 18 others.
Two competing stories about the loss of innocent queer lives. If Nov. 20 were a person, it would be in the fetal position.
- August 2022
Cartoon by Benjamin Slyngstad
- May 2022
Republicans pass more legislation to keep trans kids out of restrooms than shooters out of schools.
Middle Age Riot
Well, it happened. Just as the transphobes predicted.
I was sitting in the locker room of my gym yesterday, pulling off my sweats before working out, when I heard someone breathing very heavily. Then an older man, bald with a beard, in t-shirt and shorts, trudged into view.
"This is the women's room," I said instantly.
"What? Uh oh," he responded, and retreated.
Now, it's possible that this fellow had deliberately walked into the wrong locker room, and was panting at the thought.
But it's infinitely more likely that this guy, whom I'd never seen before, was new to Planet Fitness, and fitness generally, and had just worn himself out on a treadmill, and failed to notice which room he was entering. There wasn't time for me to ascertain whether his glasses were steamed up, but I wouldn't be surprised.
There was even less time for me to say, "Are you pretending to be a transgender woman so you can assault little girls in the locker room? Because that's what the fearmongers tell us to worry about. If you are pretending, that is the single worst female look I have ever seen."
- March 2022
The Lone Star State and the Sunshine State.
Nuts to the dirty duo.
Last month the Texas attorney general declared gender-affirming health care for transgender kids "child abuse." The governor then ordered the state "to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances of these abusive procedures in the state of Texas." This week the state confirmed it's opened nine abuse investigations.
Yesterday a state district judge temporarily blocked the governor's directive, so for the moment Texas won't be investigating parents for being . . . exemplary parents.
Imagine you're the parent of a trans child in Houston. You've already struggled through your own initial disbelief, ignorance, guilt and social pressure, and finally realized the only way to help your kid is through compassion and the marvels of modern medicine, but now you're told that makes you an unfit parent, and you might lose your child.
You'd be torn: flee the state or defend your family like the Alamo.
With no Davy Crockett to help.
Over in Florida, the state legislature on Tuesday passed the Don't Say Gay bill, which forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. Supporters claim the bill merely guarantees parents, rather than schools, broach these topics with their kids. Even the manatees can see through that.
The spokesperson of Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted that "The bill that liberals inaccurately call 'Don't Say Gay' would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill." She added that anyone who opposes the bill is "probably a groomer."
She didn't say the quiet part out loud—she screamed it. Gays are pedophiles. We must protect Florida's children from gay child molesters.
It's a wonder Key West didn't secede in response.
DeSantis is expected to sign the Don't Say Gay bill. Of course he will. How can he be expected to become president if he doesn't throw his conservative base this fresh red meat?
The children of Texas and Florida are paying the price for political ambitions. And as social conservatives insist these moves are to protect kids, these steps actually hurt kids. What the conservatives are really aiming to protect is their view of the world.
And as these last several years have shown, much of that is about as worth protecting as Florida's hanging chads.
- February 2022
Yet again, it's our fault. How do we live with ourselves?
According to Media Matters, right-wing media figures are having a fine old time pinning the Russian invasion of Ukraine on queers. If your head hurts trying to make the connection, I'll do it for you. Now that I've taken ibuprofen.
President Joe Biden's repeal of the ban on trans soldiers, along with the military's diversity training and general "wokeness," have all combined to weaken American forces to the point where Russian President Vladimir Putin saw his chance to invade Russia's neighbor.
On a Fox News show, Pete Hegseth claimed Americans have been "running around talking about genders and reparations," so "as a result, [Putin] thinks this is his moment to make an aggressive move."
Fox contributor Lisa Boothe tweeted, "America is weak. No one is afraid of us with dementia man in the White House and our focus is flying pride flags around the world."
Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire podcast said it was "not a coincidence that this has happened after Biden spent his first year in office focusing primarily on wokeness and intentionally making our military weaker and more feminine." He later added that Biden was attempting to “fill our military with lesbians who can’t do three pushups."
I wouldn't want to be Walsh when some lesbian sergeant challenges him to a pushup contest.
So thanks to integrating LGBTQ people into the military, American forces have been neutered, and Putin took advantage.
As these rightist talking heads blame us for the invasion, Christian fundamentalists, our usual accusers, haven't joined in.
Maybe they're just mad they didn't think of it first.
Hell hasn't frozen over, but it's gotten noticeably nippy.
A Republican state senator in Arizona actually joined with Democrats in successfully voting to kill a bill that would've banned all gender-affirming medical procedures for minors. Furthermore, Sen. Tyler Pace said the testimony from transgender youth and their families influenced his vote.
"The testimonies we heard today about the many people who are using these avenues of medical treatments to save lives, to improve lives,” he said at a hearing. “I don’t want my vote to stop those great things."
Satan is now sporting mittens and mukluks.
- December 2021
It's the last day of 2021.
This lousy year began with then-President Donald Trump dispatching his yahoos to the Capitol; I'll never get over the figurative and literal assault on democracy that followed. The pandemic plagued the country and the world the entire blessed year. Inflation hit. The climate changed. The U.S. withdrew chaotically from Afghanistan. Billionaires blasted themselves into space, and alas, came back.
In LGBTQ news, 2021 saw more transgender people murdered in this country than ever before.
I wouldn't blame Baby New Year if he chose to crawl back into the womb.
But the year wasn't a total washout. Looking through the queer lens, I was thrilled that male football, hockey, soccer and baseball players came out, and pleased that "Dancing WIth the Stars" included a female couple and its British equivalent had a male duo. Trans and non-binary folks competed at the Olympics. A male country star came out, and as far as I know, Dolly Parton didn't even have to push him to do it.
In terms of a person of the year for our community, there are many options, but I'm going with rapper and singer Lil Nas X. His music video showing him sliding to hell on a pole and giving Satan a lapdance set the tone early in 2021. All year he was not just ubiquitous, but an unapologetic gay Black man.
And those Uber Eats ads he made with Elton John felt like gay history encapsulated. It's been quite a journey from the Yellow Brick Road to Old Town Road.
So what will 2022 bring? I think it's fair to say expectations are low. After the planet grappled with the Delta and Omicron variants in 2021, my hope is 2022 won't force us to learn the entire Greek alphabet.
Nobody would benefit from that. Not even Greeks.
- November 2021
I just returned from a Transgender Day of Remembrance memorial. Seeing the faces of the many trans people killed over the past year in this country, and hearing how they died . . . it's deeply emotional stuff.
As a result of being ignorant that TDoR is a well-established abbreviation for Transgender Day of Remembrance, I did have one amusing moment this evening. A trans woman was telling me how she used to organize her school's TDoR (pronounced "Tee Door") remembrance, and I misheard her and spent the next few minutes trying to figure out why a community college in Washington state would memorialize bullfighters.
- August 2021
While the Olympics were unfolding, Russians fumed on state-run TV over the presence of openly gay and transgender athletes in Tokyo. One male talk show host wore a wig and mocked transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard before calling trans folks "psychopaths." On another talk show, a guest who's a member of the Russian parliament, said he was "disgusted" by gay and transgender people. Pointing to an image of Hubbard, he declared, "We stand opposed to all this smut and perversion, strongly opposed."
I'd like to know the Russian word for "irony," since all this moral indignation comes from the country that was officially banned from the Tokyo Games due to its penchant for stuffing its athletes with performance-enhancing drugs.
Russia: home of state-sponsored doping and state-sponsored dopes.
- May 2021
Emily Hines, a student at Louisiana State University, posted a TikTok video of herself pointing to a picture of transgender health secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and lip-synching the Bee Gees lyrics "More than a woman, more than a woman to me." Hines wore an Alpha Phi sweatshirt, and the sorority, which prohibits discrimination, ultimately booted her out.
"My religious beliefs have been pushed under the rug because the social construct of gender has become such a big issue,” moaned an irate Hines. “My faith teaches me that God made male and female in his image, and that one cannot become the other."
Yes of course. Her faith. Everyone knows that publicly mocking and demeaning a person for their gender identity is precisely what Jesus would do. He said so in the Book of Ridicule.
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