I look out over the rolling waves and allow my eyes to rest on her. She’s wearing a fitted white tank top, jean shorts, and her signature silver chain around her neck. Her dimples are on full display as she laughs at something her friend says, and her eyes capture the rays of sunlight and infuse them into her irises, brightening them beyond Technicolor. They’ve broken through to the sixth dimension, and I can’t look away, and I don’t want to look away.
When I was in high school, my friend and I fundraised and worked with our district to paint progress pride flags at each campus in the school district. While some called our project indoctrination, others claimed it was unnecessary because they believed this was an empty display of virtue signaling. However, as our right to queer expression continues to suffer heavy restrictions around the country, it is crucially empowering to permanently show that we are not leaving. Students may not feel safe at home, and affirming their identities decreases depression, anxiety, and suicide rates by allowing them to be themselves in school. The symbols used to identify people’s orientations and politics inform others of whom to trust.
In March of 2022, Florida legislature passed House Bill 1557: “Parental Rights in Education” Bill, also informally referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. Signed into law in July of the same year, the bill was proposed as a way to strengthen a parent’s right to make decisions about the type of care and education a student receives in public school. Crucially, this bill prohibits the education of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms before fourth grade, after which it has to be taught in an “age-appropriate or developmentally-appropriate” way.
Schuyler Bailar is perhaps best known as the first transgender man to compete in the male category of any Division 1 NCAA sport. Since graduating from Harvard in 2019 with a double major in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, he has become a prominent activist for transgender rights and body positivity through his Instagram handle @pinkmantaray. He has also published multiple books on the transgender experience, including his recent book “He/She/They,” which includes the “essential language and context” of gender identity and recollections from Schuyler’s transition journey.
After the cancellation of the beloved show “Warrior Nun” on Netflix, fans speculated as to why such a popular show could have been kicked to the curb by the streaming powerhouse. Some theorized that it may have been provoked by the second season’s relationship between two women. Though its fanbase’s dedication eventually led to the series’ development into a feature film trilogy, this isn’t the first case where shows with sapphic central characters have been stripped of funding and future seasons.
My first June after discovering sapphic literature was one of eager anticipation. I had loved sapphic novels from the moment I picked up “The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics” the year prior, and waited all year for Pride Month so that I could get new recommendations. Sure enough, they started rolling in! Scrolling through TikTok, I saw video after video advertising “queer book recs.” But what I saw was disappointing at best. In these videos, the word “queer” seemed to be synonymous with male-loving-male (MLM); every single video was full of nothing but MLM novel recommendations.