Outsourced Issue Two: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
It’s the day after the 2020 presidential election, and if even one person is reading this instead of succumbing to a panic attack, I’ll consider that a success. But let’s face it: the election is all anyone can think about, and for good reason. I’m writing this intro on Tuesday (Election Day) and I still have absolutely zero clue what to expect. [Update: it’s Wednesday morning as I hit send, and still nothing is clear.] Luckily, there’s a ton of uplifting down-ballot wins to celebrate, with a whole lot of LGBTQ elected officials about to take their seats in Congress and state legislatures across the nation. Scroll down to read more about those in the news section.
I remember the night of the 2016 election. I was at the Javits Center in New York, where Hillary Clinton’s victory party was set to take place. The basement press room was sprawling, with what seemed like hundreds of reporters from every news outlet in the world crammed into folding chairs and tables. I hung out with Dawn Ennis (now Managing Editor at Outsports), snuck food from a catering room that was probably reserved for CNN, and felt really upbeat. I was sure Clinton was going to win. Towards the end of the night, the mood changed. Watching reporters pack up and leave, shaking their heads, I remember feeling like my sense of denial then turned into a state of shock. Dawn and I walked through the halls of the massive convention center, looking for people willing to be interviewed. Those who I approached waved me away, most of them in tears. People were slumped down crying on the floor, pacing and yelling into cell phones, and the general vibe was as if a bomb had been dropped on the city. As it finally sank in, I ducked into a custodial closet and burst into tears. Hillary, of course, never showed up—we would all later learn that she was stuck in her own intimate bubble of horror and shock.
I try not to be partisan in my journalistic work—the most important thing truly is to stick to the facts—but I’m also a fucking human being at the end of the work day. I’m gay, I’m nonbinary, I’m from a working-class background. I love spending time in nature and care about the fact that our planet is melting down. I’m a rape survivor. I’ve lost people to Covid-19. Neo-Nazis scare the living daylights out of me. I’m afraid of what Trump’s three Supreme Court justices are going to do to our civil rights. Almost everyone in my life is in some way under threat due to the current administration: women, immigrants, people of color, queer and trans friends, Muslims. There are so many reasons why it’s been especially challenging to remain “impartial” over these exhausting, traumatizing four years. At some point, it starts to feel like neutrality in journalism isn’t worth losing your entire soul. So like so many other Americans, I’m praying and hoping for change. I just can’t take this anymore.
Moving on. Election or not, there’s still a ton of LGBTQ news, which is the reason that Outsourced was launched last week. And speaking of which, I’m happy to report that the launch was more successful than I’d anticipated. We have our first sponsor, the queer dating app Lex, and a partnership with the fun new top-level domain .gay. Outsourced sold about $2,000 in subscriptions in the first 24 hours; many of those subscribers work in media or LGBTQ advocacy, which is exactly the core audience I’d hoped for. Outsourced’s mission is to increase visibility and coverage of LGBTQ issues, and I feel good about the chances of meeting that goal over this next year. So a big fat THANK YOU to everyone who subscribed, to Outsourced sponsors and partners, and to all those who helped spread the word! Let’s keep building this thing, together. Oh, and send news tips and releases to Outsourcednews@gmail.com.
THIS WEEK’S TEA 🍵
Future President Sarah McBride Becomes First Trans State Senator in U.S. History
I just have this *presidential* feeling when it comes to HRC press secretary Sarah McBride. Anyway, she’s completed the first step on her march to the White House (I’m literally making this up, but it would be great) by winning her bid for Delaware’s state senate—and becoming the nation’s highest-ranking transgender elected official. You may remember Sarah from her speech at the 2016 DNC, where she was the first trans person to address a major party convention.
Congress Gains Its First Black LGBTQ Representation
Not one but two Black LGBTQ candidates representing New York both won their elections last night. Up until now, there has never been a Black LGBTQ person in Congress. Can’t wait to see how Mondaire Jones (NY-17) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15) will shake things up in the House!
First Nonbinary State Legislator Adds To String Of ‘Firsts’
Mauree Turner WON Oklahoma House District 88 (Oklahoma City), making them the first nonbinary state legislator in U.S. history—and the first Muslim elected to the Oklahoma statehouse. Turner’s background is in community organizing, working with CAIR and ACLU. I feel like Turner is also very likely the most pierced legislator? Those plugs…that septum…that other mouth piercing that I’m not cool enough to know the name for.
Too Many LGBTQ Candidates to Count
I’m not even going to try to keep track of every win and include them all by Wednesday morning, but you know who is doing that? The eagle-eyed folks at LPAC (the lesbian political action committee) and at the LGBTQ Victory Fund (which counted a stunning 1,006 openly LGBTQ candidates running in 2020, the most ever.)
The First Queer Women-Only Exit Poll
LPAC is partnering with Lake Research Partners on the first exit poll surveying LGBTQ women. Yeah, I can’t believe it’s the first either. Sigh. But at least we will finally have some solid data on what drives queer and trans women voters. Yay! The poll takes place November 4-7 and results will be revealed on November 12th during a webinar. Contact LPAC for an invite: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conservative SCOTUS Takes On LGBTQ Rights Today 😬
The election isn’t even fully over yet, and the Supreme Court—now packed with three Trump placements and leaning heavily to the right—is already back in session. One of the first cases being argued on Wednesday is yet another battle over whether religion can be used as a justification for anti-LGBTQ discrimination (and who knows what else, really.) I wrote a lengthy explainer detailing the case for GLAAD, geared at journalists that want to cover Fulton v. Philadelphia but are too burnt out to make sense of it.
…And Takes On The ACA Next Monday 😓
The stakes are high with the Supreme Court’s October 2020 term. While we won’t see decisions in either case until Spring 2021, both the Fulton case and the challenge to the Affordable Care Act being argued on Monday, November 10th present some potentially devastating changes to LGBTQ equality. The Center for American Progress wrote a great report on how the ACA (aka Obamacare) increased healthcare access and protections for LGBTQ folks, and what could happen if the court overturns it all.
The State Department Backed Off From Criminalizing Our Kids
This story has flown a bit under the radar, but basically the State Department has been refusing U.S. citizenship to the children of LGBTQ couples that were born abroad. The trick is, the children of U.S. citizens are automatically U.S. citizens no matter where they were born. But kids born through surrogates to LGBTQ couples? The State Department said, “Those aren’t your real kids.” It was pretty awful, but the feds decided to stop defending the archaic policy in court this week. Openly has the story.
LGBTQ Trump Supporters Have Their Day In The Sun
Through the week leading up to the election, Tiffany Trump and openly gay Trump-appointed diplomat Richard Grenell toured the country throwing…pride parties? Each event appeared to be pretty small and intimate, and Grenell is also co-chair of a new all-white group called Trump Pride. Check it out.
Arielle Scarcella Returns
Scarcella was once a popular lesbian YouTuber, but has recently veered off into posting anti-trans rants and aligning herself with the transphobic lesbian site AfterEllen. So I guess it’s not too surprising that she came out as a Trump and Amy Coney Barrett supporter in a video for Log Cabin Republicans that somehow manages to evoke a “You are not the father” segment on Maury Povich.
What Makes LGBTQ Trumpers Tick?
Kate Sosin spoke with a few gay Trump supporters for the 19th, a fantastic new nonprofit news site run by women and trans/nonbinary people. One of the Trumpers is a drag queen going by Miss Maga (or Lady Maga USA), who used to be a Democrat but now feels like the Republican party is more accepting—and that liberals are increasingly strident and oppressive. Read the fascinating deep dive here.
A New Scholarship Fund for Trans and Enby POC Students
After awarding $60,000 in scholarships to 20 Black trans students, the Frances Thompson Education Foundation is launching a trans and nonbinary student of color emergency fund. “We are the only organization devoted to Black trans students across disciplines, trades, and institution type,” said TFTEF founder and former Trans United Fund communications associate Desi Hall in a press release. “We knew there was a need when we started. We received over 500 applications for our scholarship, and we only had enough money for 20 students. So we had to do something for the hundreds of other students.” This fund will provide between $250 -$750 emergency grants, and you can apply here.
One Million Moms Lost It Over an Ad Featuring Jonathan Van Ness
UberEats came to JVN’s defense after the conservative group One Million Moms freaked out over an ad in which the Queer Eye star does gymnastics with Simone Biles. The conservative group said Uber Eats was “attempting to brainwash viewers” and called JVN a “crossdresser.” Personally I am just jealous that JVN can do hair and the splits. One person should not be allowed to have that many talents. NBC Out covered the scuffle.
Biden and Harris Made Last Minute Pleas to LGBTQ Voters
Joe Biden did an interview with the Philadelphia Gay News and pledged to pass the federal Equality Act within 100 days. And Kamala Harris penned an op-ed for LGBTQ Nation. That’s pretty cool for two reasons; it shows they want to reach the community authentically, and it brings traffic and legitimacy to queer publications (which are always struggling financially, let’s be real.)
Sponsors and Partners
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FUN STUFF 👯
Retail Therapy: Buy Your Favorite (Defunct) Gay Bar’s T-Shirt
The folks behind the cool project Gay Barchives slid into my inbox this week, and I’m so glad. So far they’ve gathered the logos stories of over one thousand gay bars across 35 states. And the coolest thing is that you can buy t-shirts and stickers and stuff with the logo of your favorite queer haunt that closed years ago. Just go to the site’s “archives” tab and search your state.
Sorry Ladies, They’re Off The Market Now
Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird got engaged 😭. Thank goddess. We all needed some good news last week. Trudy Ring wrote it up for The Advocate.
BET Adds More Queer Programming With BET FoQuS
On Sunday Nov 1, BET premiered a new YouTube series called BET FoQuS celebrating the Black queer community. Angel Haze, Big Freedia, Cakes Da Killa, Drebae, and Saucy Santana joined the first episode for some real talk about homophobia in hip-hop.
Jagermeister Comes to the Rescue
The Lesbian Bar Project counts just 15 remaining lesbian bars in the U.S., after a wave of closures. The project is receiving sponsorship from Jagermeister, via the liquor brand’s #Savethenight initiative. I feel like there’s a missed opportunity here for hard Kombucha brands, but what do I know. Michelle Kim covered for Them.
Last week was Asexual Awareness Week, and ace model Yasmin Benoit talked to Teen Vogue about common misconceptions and myths surrounding ace folks. I learned a lot and you can too!
Tracy Chapman Came Back To Destroy My Entire Heart
The heartbreakingly cute butch folk singer hasn’t been on TV in 5 years, but this election is bringing everyone out of the shadows. Chapman dropped in on Late Night with Seth Meyers show to sing “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution” and soothe our broken, broken souls…and maybe invoke some favorable election results with the sheer power of her voice. Wanna cry?
Queer Media Update
A news and culture outlet by and for trans guys (and their friends!) launched this past weekend called FTM.gay. Founder Dylan Thomas Cotter told Outsourced that he “aims to provide an inclusive welcoming platform of all identities and orientations.”
Send your LGBTQ media tips (hirings, layoffs, launches, etc.) to Outsourcednews@gmail.com.
Queer Meme of the Week
Joke’s on you, ‘Merica. Lesbians are horny no matter who wins.