Outsourced Issue 10: InauGAYration
A new president, a new progressive administration, and an upsurge in state-level attacks on LGBTQ rights
Do we ever get to rest?
In many ways, the inauguration of President Joe Biden last week triggered a collective sigh of relief for queer and trans people. After four years of attacks and, well, total chaos, it’s nice to see allies—and their LGBTQ appointees—in the White House. But as protests last Wednesday night showed, America isn’t ready to let down its guard just yet. And a lot of LGBTQ people initially voted for Warren and Sanders (even Buttigieg) and have expressed a reluctant acceptance of the Biden administration. The election, for many, was more about getting Trump out of our lives and installing just about any sane adult in the presidency. With Biden and Harris facing criticism for their past roles in everything from the Anita Hill hearings to war to prosecuting and jailing communities of color, this is both a uniquely progressive administration and one that will be constantly beset by criticism from the left.
The dawn of a Democratic administration always has its dark side for LGBTQ rights. With Biden pledging to sign the Equality Act into law, and taking action during his first week to expand LGBTQ protections, there’s a nation full of conservatives who are royally pissed off—and ready for a fight. This year’s slate of state legislation is already unsettling; the hottest new trend in conservative lobbying centers on banning trans girls from school sports. Attacking kids is universally unappealing, so the usual suspects that push anti-LGBTQ laws every session (hello, Alliance Defending Freedom!) have masterfully tweaked the issue into a pseudo-feminist fight against the grave threat of “men taking over women’s sports.” Of course, that is not a thing that is happening. It is not a thing that has ever happened, and it is not a thing that will happen. But the virtue signaling seems to work with certain crowds who are gullible enough to believe that A) all trans girls want to participate in sports, and B) that trans girls want to, and can, beat up your daughter. Taking a marginalized group that’s constantly targeted by violence and bullying and somehow reframing them as the bullies is the primary strategy of the anti-LGBTQ right wing this year. So no, we don’t get to rest. There’s dozens of fights ahead in state legislatures—and they aren’t going to be pretty.
In fact, here’s a long post I wrote for the GLAAD blog this week that delves deeper into this year’s attack legislation and all of the nefarious strategy behind it.
This isn’t to say you can’t celebrate! There’s a lot of wins to celebrate even in the first week. But this is one of those Remain Vigilant situations. LGBTQ advocacy groups will be gently guiding the Biden administration ever farther to the left, while fighting attacks on trans children and teens in statehouses coast to coast. Think of it as a conference of sorts: you can party a little at night, but don’t get too crazy because you still need to work in the morning.
THIS WEEK’S TEA 🍵
The Inauguration Was Pretty Gay
Bisexual icon Lady Gaga Sang the anthem. J-Lo sang part of America the Beautiful (written by suspected lesbian Katharine Lee Bates) and cemented the abrupt yelling of “Let’s Get Loud” into the queer lexicon forever. Pete Buttigieg and his husband brought suburban gay visibility to the platform. Kamala Harris’s stepchild Ella Emhoff had nonbinaries and queers all abuzz wondering “is they or isn’t they?” Trans representation would have been nice, but overall it was sufficiently gay for an event being watched by the whole world. Also, trans faith leaders were included in the National Prayer Service, which is an inauguration thing that NPR covered.
On Day One, Biden Signs Order Offering LGBTQ Non-discrimination Protections
Ooooh! It’s only the first day and the new president has signed an order that unabashedly offers protections not just for LGBTQ adults, but also specifically for trans children and teens in schools! We love to see it. Here’s the news from the Washington Post.
What Biden’s LGBTQ Order Does and Doesn’t Do
There’s a whole lot of confusion about this one. Luckily, ACLU attorney and famous trans dad Chase Strangio penned an op-ed for Ms. Magazine to break it all down.
HHS Appointee Rachel Levine Targeted By Transphobic Media
We will protect Dr. Rachel Levine at all costs. A couple of years ago, Levine was among the highest-level transgender elected officials in the nation, serving as the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health since 2017. Now she’s a presidential appointee 🥲 and will be the first transgender person confirmed by the senate for a federal agency role. Media Matters compiled this list of the mean media meanies who talked smack about her after Biden announced her appointment.
White House Website Adds Gender-Inclusive Pronouns On Day One
Whaaaaat?? The last time I booked a flight (yes, during Covid) even Expedia didn’t give me gender options beyond male and female—despite the fact that Americans in 19 states can now opt out of gender markers on ID. So it’s really exciting to see the White House setting an example and showing just how easy it is to include the they/thems. Openly, the Reuters LGBTQ outlet, covered. (And, humblebrag: GLAAD broke the news on Twitter.)
Montana House Passes Bill Banning Doctors from Treating Trans Youth
The Montana bill that criminalizes doctors failed, and then was brought back to life this week (ugh). But it’s just one of several similar pieces of legislation around the country that interfere with the medical industry—and if you ask me, that’s gonna be a losing battle. The Montana Free Press did some great coverage.
Montana’s New Anti-Trans Sports Laws Are Eerily Familiar
There’s a saying about putting lipstick on a pig, and it applies when talking about the new slate of anti-trans bills in states around the country this year that seek to ban trans women and girls from sports. Idaho’s NPR took a look at how Montana’s laws are a carbon copy of its own—and that’s no surprise, considering that the national interest groups behind both are the same groups that wrote the “bathroom” bills of the last few years. New approach, new pseudo-feminist argument, same old desire to legislate transgender people out of existence.
Congress Targets Trans Women in Sports, Too
So, right-wing media, groups, TERFs, and elected officials all read Biden’s day one LGBTQ executive order wrong—and decided that the greatest threat humanity has ever faced is trans girls who want to *gasp* play soccer with their friends at school. Florida Rep. Greg Steube and his Proud Boy beard decided that state bills weren’t enough, and introduced a bill in Congress that tries to ban trans children and teens from participating in school sports. Them explained it all.
State Bills Attempt to Criminalize Doctors Who Treat Trans Youth
As I wrote in the intro above, this really seems like a failing strategy for the anti-LGBTQ movement. First they tried to attack marriage equality, then they tried “bathroom bills,” and when those were wildly unpopular, they decided to move on to attacking trans children—and the doctors who treat them. IDK, going up against the healthcare industry during a global pandemic? Doesn’t seem like the best bet. LGBTQ Nation covered one of these egregious bills in Iowa.
How Will Anti-Trans Bills in States Like Montana Fare Under Biden’s New Order?
Here’s an interesting twist! With Biden’s executive order—and his promise to sign the Equality Act into law, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act—how exactly will these state bans on trans kids fare? The Hill offered some analysis.
Pete Buttigieg Aces Confirmation Hearing, Media Goes Post-Gay
A thing about media coverage of Pete Buttigieg: most of it, these days, doesn’t even mention that he’s gay. Being a viable presidential candidate and the incoming secretary of transportation, I guess, warrants more news coverage than who he sleeps next to every night. Still, it’s wild to watch one of the most prominent LGBTQ government officials usher in some kind of post-gay era. Anyway, here’s Politico.
Biden State Department To Appoint LGBTQ Envoy
Remember when the Trump administration told U.S. diplomats serving abroad that they weren’t allowed to hang Pride flags at embassies in June? Well, not only did Biden’s Secretary of State appointee Antony Blinken say “yeah, no” to that—he’s also planning to appoint an LGBTQ Envoy. The Advocate tells the tale.
New York Moves to Repeal Anti-Sex Worker Loitering Law Used to Target Trans Women of Color
In this house we stan sex workers rights, and we do not stan police harassment of trans women of color using anti-sex worker loitering laws. Luckily, New York’s state senators and other elected officials are starting to listen to trans groups that have lobbied against the “Walking While Trans” laws for years. Read all about it in the New York Daily News.
First Lady Jill Biden Tours LGBTQ Health Clinic On Day Two
The Biden administration was busy in its first couple of days, essentially trying to reach every marginalized community through at least one small action if not a massive executive order. First Lady Jill Biden got in on it too, visiting a storied LGBTQ health clinic in DC the day after the inauguration. Here’s what Pink News had to say.
Conservatives and TERFs Panic Over Biden EO, #BidenErasesWomen Trends
If you ever want to understand what’s really behind whatever the latest TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist) talking point, just follow Katelyn Burns on Twitter and read everything she writes. This week Burns dove into the fear-mongering backlash to Biden’s LGBTQ order for Vox, excellently as per usual.
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Teen Star Jojo Siwa Comes Out, Is “Swatted” By Maybe the Paparazzi?
At this point, everyone including Olds (of which I am one) knows about Jojo Siwa coming out. It’s adorable, and we love everything about it. Except for the fact that shortly after coming out, someone SWATted her house. According to Out magazine, it may have been paparazzi that called the cops, in a sad attempt to get the teen star to come outside for photos.
LGBTQ Representation on TV Dropped During the Pandemic
But it only dropped ever-so-slightly, so there’s hope. Besides, all we’re doing is watching TV lately—and projecting lesbian scenarios onto characters that are probably not lesbians. Here’s Philly Gay News coverage.
The 2021 GLAAD Media Awards Nominations are HERE!!
It’s my first year (well, first month still) working at GLAAD and I’m so excited to see great news coverage of LGBTQ issues recognized in the awards. The nominees were just announced this morning, and the list really serves as a guideline for how to do this work. Congratulations to everyone! Read the full list here.
QUEER MEME OF THE WEEK
…in honor of this week’s cisgender confusion. 👏👏👏