Dispatches From the Queer Resistance (No. 7)

[Content note: Gun violence; homophobia; racism; transphobia.]

Here's my regular reminder that 77% of LGBTQ voters chose Hillary Clinton over any other contender in the 2016 US presidential election and that Republicans, generally, are pretty terrible when it comes to acknowledging the rights, let alone dignity, of LGBT people.

1) Two-Year Anniversary of Pulse Nightclub Shooting
Today marks the two-year anniversary of the deadliest act of violence against LGBT people in US history, in which a gunman killed 49 and injured 53 people attending "Latin Night" at an Orlando gay bar.

I stand in solidarity with all who are grieving today, or who may feel scared, uncertain, and/or angry because of this attack.

2) US Supreme Court Issues Decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop
Last week, in a majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the US Supreme Court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's treatment of a baker who refuses to bake cakes for same-sex weddings "violated the State's duty under the First Amendment not to base laws or regulations on hostility to a religion or religious viewpoint."

I've seen many analyses suggesting that this case wasn't actually a big win for the anti-LGBT side. Yet, cases like Masterpiece Cakeshop very much look to me like part of a broader strategy to normalize the notion that it's acceptable, moral, and legal for Christians to discriminate against LGBT people in the public sphere.

And, while some anti-LGBT groups are banking on, first, an eventual change in the composition of the Supreme Court and, second, a sweeping ruling that would overturn Obergefell, it's important to note that the erosion of marriage equality won't actually require the big dramatic Supreme Court ruling that many people seem to think it will.

Melissa has noted before that anti-LGBT advocates are already chipping away at marriage equality in a manner much like anti-choice advocates have been chipping away at Roe for decades. In fact, I strongly recommend reading this piece that she wrote in 2011, while keeping in mind the parallels with respect to marriage equality, trans rights, and adoption by same-sex couples, all of which are under constant attack from the right.

I continue to fear that segments of the progressive left have become complacent with respect to LGBT rights in our post-Obergefell world, just as many have become with respect to reproductive rights. We must remain vigilant about the reality that conservatives can and will erode our rights piece-by-piece so that one day a bunch of people might wake up, look around, and wonder what the fuck happened.

3) Bigots React to Ruling
Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said that Donald Trump is "pleased" with the Masterpiece Cakeshop outcome. And by Trump, I'm sure she means Pence. Although, sure, Trump, too. Because he's obviously so religious.

Meanwhile, in response to the ruling, South Dakota lawmaker Michael Clark (Republican) indicated in a Facebook comment that businessowners should be able to "turn away people of color" if they choose. After he received pushback, he later wrote, "I am apologizing for some of my Facebook comments. I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their color or race."


4) Indiana Teacher Says Calling Trans Students by Their Names Violates His Religion
A teacher at Brownsburg High School, "said the school district's requirement that teachers call transgender students by their preferred names, rather than those given at birth, goes against his religious beliefs." He has said that he has been forced to resign for failing to comply with the school's policy and of course the conservative Indiana Family Institute is backing him.

5) Republican Lawmaker Says Housing Discrimination Is Fine
In a statement to a group of realtors last month, US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) said, "Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone (if) they don't agree with their lifestyle."

He later clarified that, "We've drawn a line on racism, but I don't think we should extend that line. A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”

Rohrabacher is up for re-election and faces 15 challengers. I wish him the worst of luck in his efforts.

6) Sexual Minority Young Women at Heightened Risk for Teen Pregnancy
An April 2018 study in Pediatrics found that lesbians had approximately two times the risk of teen pregnancy as heterosexual participants, and bisexual young women had nearly five times the risk. From the article:
"The higher teen pregnancy prevalence among sexual minorities was partially explained by childhood maltreatment and bullying. One additional variable, the earlier age of sexual minority developmental milestones, was a significant risk factor for teen pregnancy among sexual minorities."
The researchers also referenced previous results from a qualitative study in which participants engaged in sex with a different gender in order to "prove" their heterosexuality or hide their sexual orientation.

7) Republican Candidate Films Herself Harassing Trans Woman
Proving once again that creepy, bigoted cis people are far bigger threats to trans people's safety than the other way around, Jazmina Saavedra, a Republican candidate for Congress in California, filmed herself yelling at a trans woman who used a bathroom at a Denny's restaurant. What the actual fuck.

Saavedra lost the election.

8) Lambda Legal Issues Criminal Justice Report
Lambda Legal has issued a report that offers, "an overview of the wide-ranging impacts of the Trump Administration's federal criminal justice initiatives on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and communities, with a particular focus on impacts on LGBTQ people of color and immigrants." The report is worth reading in its entirety, and it ends with a call for "LGBTQ organizations not already on the front lines of struggles to challenge profiling, discriminatory policing, police violence, mass criminalization and incarceration, and intensified immigration enforcement will join in and support efforts to resist and limit the harms of these federal initiatives at the local level."

9) Better Things
To end on a more upbeat note. However you might celebrate or honor it, Happy Pride Month, y'all! 

Personally, and in addition to some more organized events, I'm looking forward to watching Ocean's 8 (and Sarah Paulson and Cate Blanchett, obvs) on the big screen in the very near future. In addition, one of my favorite TV shows of the moment, Supergirl, has announced plans for a trans character next season (the casting notice seeks a trans actress).

Finally, Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno is openly gay and is running for governor in Maryland. He aired an ad earlier this month listing the things he's done to stand up to, and anger, Trump. These included standing up for Planned Parenthood, helping ban assault weapons in Maryland, supporting public schools, and kissing his husband. The ad ends with him kissing his husband, LOL.

I know some people say Democrats "have to do more than be against Trump," but all of the issues Senator Madeleno has stood for, in opposition to Trump, are actually a pretty big fucking deal. Once some people understand that women, schoolchildren, and queers are people too, I think it becomes easier to comprehend that maybe it is enough to be against Trump.

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