Dispatches From the Queer Resistance (No. 5)

Here's my regular reminder that 77% of LGBT voters chose Hillary Clinton over any other contender in the 2016 general election.

Many reasons exist for this disproportionate level of support for Clinton. I suspect that a big one was the accurate prediction that, as signaled by his selection of Mike Pence as his VP candidate, Donald Trump would become a hypocritical Christian Cultural Warrior for the far-right. And also, the President makes important appointments and nominations to the judiciary, which has historically played an important role in recognizing LGBT rights when populist majorities have refused to do so.

Here's a roundup of queer-related news:

1) World AIDS Day

December 1st was World AIDS Day, which was founded in 1988 to "unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness."

As we mark this day, I cannot help but think of the generation of queer men and trans individuals we have lost to HIV/AIDS in the early days of the crisis, largely due to fear, ignorance, hatred, and government inaction. What does this loss of humanity mean for our resistance efforts now, not just in addressing the ongoing HIV epidemic, but also with respect to the LGBT/queer rights movement and resisting the hostility of the current Republican Administration?

2. Trump's World AIDS Day Message

Donald Trump issued a proclamation for World AIDS Day. This acknowledgement contained multiple references to "public-private partnerships" in addressing HIV/AIDS, while making no reference to the populations in the United States that are disproportionately impacted by the disease.

In response, the LGBTQ Task Force issued a press release,:
 "Looking at President Donald Trump’s proclamation for World AIDS Day one might think HIV was not an issue for people of color or the LGBTQ community, since the president’s statement did not mention either." 
The press release also noted that gay and bisexual men, people of color, and trans people are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. In addition, Trump's proposed budget would cut $59 million from the Ryan White Health Care Act, which provides medical treatment and social services to those living with HIV/AIDS.

3. LGBT Rights Advocate Advice on Resistance

Cleve Jones, longtime LGBT and HIV/AIDS advocate, gave a recent interview at a historic gay bar in Chicago while promoting his memoir, When We Rise: My Life in the Movement. Via The Windy City Times, he discusses how his activism was shaped by meeting, and losing, Harvey Milk. And:
Jones also recounted his despair over the election of President Donald Trump in November 2016, but added that it was ultimately a moment like many others, where it initially seemed like there was no hope.

"Many times, I thought, 'It's over,'" he recalled. Among similar times were his realization that he was gay, Milk's assassination in 1978 and the onset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. But with each of those experiences, he said, others helped him overcome his despair.

"I am thinking about the future. The past is with me," Jones said. "…But I'm not done. We're not done. The struggles aren't over."

He added, "Every one of you should look inside yourselves and figure out what it is that you bring to this fight."
4. A Modest Question

Hey, has anyone determined yet if the current Vice President of the United States actually wants to hang queers, or whether the President was "just joking"? And, isn't it remarkable how quickly that story fell off the radar?

5. Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument Today In Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing oral arguments in the case of the Christian man who runs a bakery in which he refuses to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples, in violation of state law. Or, as I like to frame the issue at hand: Do Christian businessowners opposed to same-sex marriage have a special right to violate their state's anti-discrimination laws during the course of operating their businesses?

Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog provides a rundown of the arguments. Per Howe, the baker, or "cake artist" per his attorneys, argues that the First Amendment bars the state from requiring him to design cakes that violate his religious beliefs. As a cake artist, he argues, designing cakes is a form of expression "even if they are made with 'mostly edible materials like icing and fondant rather than ink and clay,' because they convey messages about marriage and the couple being married."

Collect your smelling salts and gather round your fainting couches because I'm sure this will shock you, but the Trump Administration has filed a brief supporting the bakery.

Colorado and the couple, on the other hand, argue that, "[t]he law makes clear that when businesses sell products or services to the public, they cannot discriminate against some members of that public based on, for example, their sexual orientation." The more general concern here is that this case could set a precedent for anti-gay Christians to chip away at the power of anti-discrimination laws to protect gay people and, potentially, other minority groups.

For context, the "cake artist" is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified ADF as an extremist group founded by members of the Christian Right that "has supported the recriminalization of homosexuality in the US and criminalization abroad" as well as "state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad."

I have a working theory about anti-LGBT strategy here. With Trump continuing to be historically unpopular, how beneficial might it be for the Christian Right to wage a revived, full-on culture war, in which leaders of the Christian Right convince their followers that the forces of Political Correctness are oppressing them? What vigorous anti-LGBT counter-measures and messaging might the Trump/Pence Administration deliver to their loyal, white conservative Christian base, in response to a win or, perhaps worse, a loss in this case? It's hard for me to see any outcome of this case as a win, at least in the short-term, for LGBT people.

6. FIFA Issues Warning to Gay Soccer Fans

Via The Washington Post:
"FIFA’s anti-discrimination advisers are warning gay soccer fans going to the 2018 World Cup in Russia that displays of affection could be met with an aggressive response from intolerant locals.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but anti-gay sentiment remains strong and intensified after a law was introduced in 2013 prohibiting dissemination to minors of 'propaganda' legitimizing homosexuality.

As fans prepare their trips after Friday’s World Cup draw, the FARE network said it will produce a guide spelling out the threats to be prepared for in Russia."
What neat leadership the Trump Team has befriended!

7. I Don't Even Know

Via LGBTQ Nation:

screen cap of Alex Jones in his studio with his mouth hanging open, accompanied by a headline reading: 'Alex Jones said that lesbians torture women and eat their brains'

When I saw this article, I immediately showed it to Melissa because I was at a loss for words. She replied (which I'm sharing with her permission), with a simple, but pertinent, question as to whether the image was "Alex Jones jizzing in his pants at the thought of a lesbian eating brains."

That sounds about right.

On that note, what other queer/LGBTQ stuff is going on in the world?

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