Dispatches From the Queer Resistance (No. 3)

[Content Note: Homophobia, transbigotry, torture, terrorism.]

It's Pride Month, y'all. Was it only 150 days ago when we had a President who officially recognized Pride Month, and could speak coherently about this and other issues? Feels like a decade ago!

1) This is a periodic reminder that exit polls showed that 77% of LGBT people voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

2) Five years ago during Pride Month, prominent opponent of marriage equality David Blankenhorn publicly changed his opinion on same-sex marriage. In his New York Times reversal, he acknowledged that his side had failed to win public opinion on the issue and that much of the opposition to marriage equality stemmed from anti-gay animus, a fact that marriage equality advocates had been observing for years. Meanwhile, same-sex marriage advocates, at both the individual and organizational level, continued to battle onward and resist this animus.

Three years later in 2015, also during Pride Month, the US Supreme Court issued a decision effectively legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide (PDF). Two years have passed since that decision and many social conservative believe they have lost the so-called culture war on same-sex marriage, a loss they widely seem to experience as widespread acknowledgement that opposing marriage equality is bigotry. Most heterosexual Americans likely also understand that same-sex marriage has little tangible impact on their lives. The world is not ending! (Well.... maybe it is, but for other reasons).

However, I note two potential synergies that could swing the pendulum back in their favor. One, some anti-LGBT groups remain convinced that if they can get the right Supreme Court composition, SCOTUS will overturn the marriage equality precedent. For instance, this June, the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage (NOM) will hold a "March for Marriage" (which I'm intentionally not linking to) and the organization has vowed to not rest until same-sex marriage is repealed.

Secondly, Team Trump/Pence have shown a willingness to appoint radical conservatives to SCOTUS, and I believe that's largely Pence's doing. The Republican-controlled legislature has shown that they will rubber-stamp these picks no matter how out touch they might be with the mainstream.

Meanwhile, 64% of those in the US believe same-sex marriage should be legal, the highest percentage since Gallup began this tracking in 1998. Donald Trump's popularity has been hovering at under 40% since his inauguration. These numbers are a reminder that a deeply-unpopular President who lost the popular vote is in a position to play a key role in overturning a precedent that most people in the US support. With Republicans willing to use the "nuclear option" to confirm Trump Supreme Court picks with only a simply majority vote, Democrats must take back the Senate in 2018 - because of this issue and so many more.

3) Speaking of NOM, earlier this year, the organization launched a tour of its so-called Free Speech Bus. This bus was decorated with anti-trans, gender-essentialist messaging which seems to have been inspired by Kindergarten Cop-approved boys-have-a-penis, girls-have-a-vagina logic.

The messaging was provocative and, accordingly, NOM tracked every real and perceived act of counter-protest, which they spun into their usual narrative of how LGBT advocates are the real bullies. For instance, during the course of its tour, the bus was allegedly vandalized. On Twitter, NOM then asked "prominent LGBT leaders" to "condemn" the vandalism.

I'm not prominent, but I tweeted why I passed on issuing a condemnation. (Spoiler alert: I believe NOM's messaging contributes to an overall climate of hostility, which leads to violence toward and murder of trans people).

4)  Multiple news outlets have reported that gay men are being detained, tortured, and killed in Chechnya. Via The New York Times:
"A spokesman for Chechnya's leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, denied the report in a statement to Interfax on Saturday, calling the article 'absolute lies and disinformation."

'You cannot arrest or repress people who don't exist in the republic," the spokesman, Alvi Karimov, told the news agency.

'If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return,' Mr. Karimov said."
It's not exactly reassuring when a spokesman can't hide his eliminationist homobigotry during the course of denying that eliminationist homobigotry is occurring in his country.

In response, some countries - Lithuania and France among them - are opening their doors to gay men from Chechnya. The US has not. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has called on Chechen authorities to investigate the allegations, ostensibly the same authorities who believe gay men don't exist and/or should be killed.

In fact, it's reported that these abuses are done under the auspices of the Chechen leader, with PinkNews reporting that Kadyrov wants gay men eliminated by the start of Ramadan, which was May 26th. (Note: Some media reports that these atrocities are committed on "LGBT people" without clarifying whether queer women and trans people are also being targeted. However, if gay men are targeted, it's likely that other LGBT people are as well.)

Donald Trump himself has not addressed these reports. Possibly related: Chechnya's leader is a close ally to Vladimir Putin. Here I note that a President Hillary Clinton and her administration might have offered more assistance in this situation. In fact, she has issued a condemnation. (But her emails, the misogyny, "establishment," etc.)

5) The first anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting will be next Monday, June 12. This terror attack was the deadliest hate crime against LGBT people in the US, killing 49 people, and the deadliest since 9/11. My thoughts are with the victims, their friends, and their families. I stand in solidarity with them, and with anyone who remains outraged, scared, and wounded by this tragedy

6) Ehhhh:

7) Via the National Center for Transgender Equality, Trump has appointed anti-LGBT activist Roger Severino as Director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Severino was previously at the Heritage Foundation, where he "authored a report opposing OCR's implementation of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex in federally funded health programs."

Just another example of a Trump appointment placed in a position to enforce an agency's work who seems to fundamentally disagree with that work.

8) This weekend, instead of a Pride Parade, a Resist March will be held in LA:
"We are calling on everyone to peacefully march with us on June 11th from Hollywood and Highland to West Hollywood. Instead of a Pride Parade meant to celebrate our past progress, we are going to march to ensure all our futures. Just as we did in 1970's first LGBTQ+ Pride, we are going to march in unity with those who believe that America's strength is its diversity. Not just LGBTQ+ people but all Americans and dreamers will be wrapped in the Rainbow Flag and our unique, diverse, intersectional voices will come together in one harmonized proclamation."
In conclusion, Donald Trump and Shadow President Mike Pence are scary fucking dudes. If you're attending or marching in a Pride Parade this year, we have a lot to protest and resist!

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus