On May 5, 2023, UCLA screened “Coming to You” (“한글: 너에게 가는 길”) directed by Gyu-ri Byun (she/her), a groundbreaking Korean documentary about the mothers of queer adults in Korea. The documentary centers on the mothers, Nabi (she/her) and Vivian (she/her), who are members of PFLAG Korea (Parents, Families and Allies of LGBTAIQ+ People in Korea). Both women are cisgender and heterosexual. Prior to their children coming out to them, they held little to no knowledge about the queer community and harbored discriminatory opinions about queerness. Nonetheless, the documentary made no excuses for their past queerphobia and followed their journeys into wholehearted queer activism.
Throughout May, the Los Angeles Dodgers have invited, disinvited, and re-invited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of queer and trans nuns, to their Pride Night on June 16. Pride Month is only just knocking a jaunty rhythm on our door, but the LGBTQ+ community is already facing exhaustion and backlash for corporations and large organizations attempts at inclusivity.
In 1977, orange juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant campaigned against a new anti-discrimination law protecting gay men and lesbians in Dade County, Florida. She had it overturned and riding on the wave of this success, started Save Our Children, the United States’ first national anti gay group.
Have you ever heard the term “dinner and a show?” Now imagine drinking from a fishnet and stiletto adorned leg over 12 inches tall, followed by a three course meal, a stack of dollar bills in your hand. This is the experience of Lips Drag Palace.
Instead of shutting down harmful anti-trans bills, the Montana House of Representatives chose to shut down the voice of trans representative Zooey Zephyr. Zephyr is a member of the Montana House of Representatives and is in the 100th district representing Missoula, one of the bluest areas of Montana.
On May 11, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially struck down its ban on blood donations from queer men. This news comes less than four months after the FDA initially proposed these changes in January for a 60-day public comment period.
Activism is rough, and we throw a lot of words around at each other. “Assimilationist!” “Unrealistic!” “Conformist!” “Aggressive!” LGBTQ+ activism has not only been met with virulent backlash from the cisgender, heterosexual side of society but also has been plagued by intra-community conflict on the best ways to do things. The tension surrounding LGBTQ+ activism boils down to a push and pull between outright rebellion and more incremental forms of justice. This conflict is not specific to the LGBTQ+ community; all sorts of movements spanning different identities and ideas encounter the contentious dichotomy between abolition and reform.
In the past year or so, there has been a scourge of discriminatory legislation targeting the entire Queer community, transgender individuals in particular. Bills have been introduced in state legislatures that attack freedom of expression, access to gender-affirming care, education, and visibility for the transgender and broader Queer community. These laws are an astonishing and frightening violation of basic human rights and speak to a worrying rise in widespread anti-transgender intolerance. Essentially, conservative politicians are trying to write Queer and trans people out of existence.
The ACLU is currently tracking 467 anti-LGBTQ bills among 45 state legislators at the time of publication. On April 13, the U.S. Department of Education (referred to as The Department) published its proposed updates to Title IX regulations entitled “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance: Sex-Related Eligibility Criteria for Male and Female Athletic Teams.”
On March 31, 2023 (this year’s Trans Day of Visibility), Representative Pramila Jayapal and Senator Edward J. Markey introduced the “Transgender Bill of Rights” in Congress. The resolution would broadly ensure equal access to services and public accommodations for trans and nonbinary people, recognize their right to bodily autonomy and ethical healthcare, promote their safety, and enforce their civil rights.