Outsourced Issue 14: The Anniversary Of Our Loneliness

Lonely lesbians, trans sports bans hidden in Covid relief, Michelle Obama's queer party, and more.

It has been a whole year.

I went to my chiropractor today for the first time since maybe January 2020, and we talked about how people have lost their social skills almost entirely during quarantine. People just sort of stumble into their appointments, barely able to finish a sentence or make eye contact. And as my vertebrae and ribs were picked up and *cracked* into place, I realized that most people probably aren’t getting touched very much either. When I do see friends occasionally, we keep our distance—no hugs hello, no removing of masks, no hands held or backs patted. It’s weird. We’ve turned into incredibly lonely, rusty beings.

I really felt that on Monday, when I joined other LGBTQ advocates for a panel discussion that comes out later this month. I begged my boss to hop on a video call to prepare me for the panel, not because I don’t have a brain packed full of relevant information about legislation and policy to discuss, but because I was sure I had forgotten how to speak. The panel ended up going great, but I felt oddly robotic every time I opened my mouth. And couldn’t shake the sensation that because we were all stuck in our little screen boxes, it wasn’t as real as live events I’ve participated in way back in the days when we could all be in the same room.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve lived this way for an entire year. Stuck in our little boxes, starved for touch, forgetting how to interact. President Biden just tweeted today that all adult Americans should expect to receive the vaccine by May 1st. But when we do return to public life and the physical world, what will we be, exactly? How will we rebuild our speech functions and know how to touch each other again?

I really don’t know how to segue from that into the news of the week, because I lost that communication skill somewhere between baking endless loaves of banana bread and taking “sanity walks.” Anyway, uh, here’s…news.


THIS WEEK’S TEA 🍵

Republican Senators Tried to Hide Trans Sports Ban in Covid-19 Relief

Three old men from Alabama, Kansas, and South Carolina decided that the one thing missing from the federal Covid-19 relief package designed to help Americans pull ourselves out of this endless pandemic…was a ban on trans girls playing sports in school. For god’s sake why is this the hot topic for conservatives right now? How did it become en vogue for them to become obsessed with children’s genitals? And how many trans girls do they think there are, much less how many do they think are really into sports of all things? 2021 is nothing if not creepy. LGBTQ Nation covered.

Hundreds of NCAA Athletes Demand Association Pull Out Of States With Anti-Trans Sports Bans

Full disclosure: I helped with the media outreach (press release, breaking story placement, etc.) for this in my day job at GLAAD. But it’s huge news nonetheless. Over 500 (and growing!) college athletes signed on to a letter demanding that the NCAA stand by the 2016 nondiscrimination policy it developed in response to North Carolina’s anti-trans HB2, and pull events out of states that pass anti-trans sports bans this year. So far, two states—Idaho and Mississippi—have banned trans girls and women from sports, and laws are up for debate in a stunning twenty-four other states. But if anyone can fight this wave of needless hate, it’s the (mostly cisgender women) athletes the laws are allegedly designed to “protect.” Outsports covered it best.

University of Montana cross country runner June Eastwood, a trans NCAA athlete

Family of Marsha P. Johnson Opposes Park, Says NYC Using Her Memory For Publicity Points

A park on the East River dedicated to trans activist icon Marsha P. Johnson is on pause after Johnson’s family and local trans advocacy organizations complained of being left out of the process. The city had budgeted $14 million towards the project, Gay City News reports.

Mississippi Governor Signs Anti-Trans Sports Ban Into Law

The state of Mississippi has made it illegal for trans kids in school to participate in sports on the teams that align with the gender identity, forcing trans girls to play on boys’ teams and trans boys to play on girls’ teams if they want to continue athletics. It’s the first state to pass a 2021 ban out of the roughly 25 states that are considering them this year. NBC Out reported.

Houston Bakery Sued After Firing Three LGBTQ Staffers In ‘Purge’

Gilbert Johnson says Houston’s Dessert Gallery and Bakery took away his hiring duties after he hired a transgender employee, and then fired both of them—and a lesbian on staff, too. The former bakery workers banded together to file one of the first major cases of anti-LGBTQ employment discrimination since the Supreme Court made that illegal in last year’s Bostock ruling. Read more at Out magazine.

Biden Order Protects LGBTQ Students on Intl. Women’s Day

President Biden issued an executive order on Monday that declares educational equality “on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation or gender identity.” The sweeping anti-discrimination rule directs the Education department to assess the damage to Title IX and sexual assault policies done by Trump’s education secretary Betsy DeVos. Planet Transgender published the entire order.

Third-Gender Option Could Come To Passports

At a White House press briefing, Jennifer Klein, director of the newly-formed Gender Policy Council, told reporters the council will look into nationalizing gender-inclusive sex markers on IDs. With 19 states already offering the ‘X’ sex marker on driver licenses, Klein said bringing the option to passports “I honestly don’t know whether that requires an executive order.” Washington Blade reported.

Study Finds Lesbians Feel The Most Lonely In Quarantine

A survey published in February found that among different groups, lesbians reported the highest levels of loneliness and general misery due to the isolation of Covid-19 quarantine. Surprising that they needed to do a study to find this out, when they could have just scrolled on Lex for five minutes. Them has the whole story.

Leaseholder In Ghost Ship Fire Sentenced To Serve Time At Home

Derick Almena, who operated and subleased the Oakland warehouse where the deadly Ghost Ship fire took 36 lives in 2016, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison time. But after taking a plea deal, Almena will actually serve only 18 months at home wearing an ankle monitor. NPR reported on the sentence Almena received for ignoring safety complaints that could have prevented the horrific incident. The Ghost Ship fire claimed numerous queer and trans lives including Feral Pines, Cash Askew, Em Bohlka, Joey Casio, and Ara Jo. Here’s what I wrote about those devastating losses for NBC Out when it happened.

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CULTURE FUN ZONE 👯

Michelle Obama’s Virtual Queer Party

First she went to Zaya Wade’s, then she stopped by to visit celesbianism’s hottest couple Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger. It all took place on Instagram, but she may as well have strolled into The Abbey and stuck a dollar in a go-go boy’s thong! Welcome to the gayborhood, Mrs. President! Marie Claire covered Zaya’s adorable nervousness, and I couldn’t find a single piece of news coverage of Obama’s visit with soccer’s leading lesbians. But here’s the whole video from Ashlyn’s Insta.

A post shared by Ashlyn Harris (@ashlynharris24)

‘Pose’ Comes To An End 😢

The groundbreaking voguing historical drama with an all-trans cast will make its final run with Season 3 on FX. Creator Steven Canals told Variety that he wrote the show as a love letter not just to the ballroom community, but as a gift to his younger self.

Meghan Markle Blows Up The Palace

This isn’t remotely gay, but at the same time, it is? Oprah’s interview with Meghan Markle and her husband was insane and basically ended the royal family. If you haven’t seen it yet, CBS has the whole deal streaming for free.

BET Welcomes First Trans Nonbinary Host and Executive Producer

Legendary entertainment blogger and media personality B. Scott will host and produce an after-show discussion series for BET that centers on Lena Waithe’s narrative drama “Twenties.” Scott, who has been critical in the past of BET’s historical lack of LGBTQ representation, told Variety that they are “in a place of forgiveness and [is] honored to help turn the page on the past and be a part of the network’s move toward a more inclusive future for everyone.”

Patti Harrison’s Rise Is Unstoppable

Despite being booted off Twitter for a scathing impersonation of Nilla wafers last week, comedian Patti Harrison is everywhere. She’s the first openly trans actor to voice a character in a Disney film (the new ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’), and as Variety revealed in an exclusive, she’ll star opposite Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in a comedy about romance novels come to life called ‘The Lost City of D.’


THANK YOU 😍

Outsourced was made possible this week by the vegan gumbo food cart off Williams Avenue. And, of course, by sponsors and partners. Your company can sponsor Outsourced and reach hundreds of engaged and influential readers; email outsourcednews@gmail.com to learn more.

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