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.
Towards the end of October 2023, Japan’s Supreme Court ruled that their long-held legislation requiring transgender citizens to undergo medical sterilization and have “no functional reproductive glands” to legally change their gender is in fact unconstitutional. Even with this change, they must be unmarried and have genitals that present as the “gender” they are trying to identify as. Though there remain some obstacles, this court decision will allow for a life without legal violations of physical autonomy. In the spirit of this queer legislative win for Japanese people, we’d like to highlight how queer folks in other regions of Asia have also witnessed victories and an expansion of dedicated space within the past year.
On Monday, Nov. 13, reports of the death of nonbinary Mexican Magistrate Jesús Ociel Baena sent shock waves through the LGBTQ+ community.
In June 2023, six out of nine Supreme Court justices ruled in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis that a Colorado graphic designer could legally discriminate against same-sex couples by refusing to make websites for their weddings. The case expands the narrower precedent of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a 2018 decision which ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission could not compel a bakery to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. Both rulings used the First Amendment’s provision for religious freedom as a bludgeon against the LGBTQ+ community’s right to access to public life.
Picture this: it’s June 28, 1970, nearly a year after the monumental Stonewall riots, and you’re attending the first Pride Parade in New York City. Except it’s not a parade, and it’s not entirely about Pride: it’s the Christopher Street Liberation Day March. Here, we recognize the familiar names of Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, and the lesser known names of the march’s organizers Craig Rodwell, Fred Sargeant, Ellen Broidy, Linda Rhodes, Brenda Howard and many more. Unlike today’s Pride Parade, this march in New York was dedicated to Gay Liberation in the forms of political speeches, demonstrations, and gay visibility.
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.
On March 3, 2023, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Senate Bill 3, a bill that bans public drag shows under the rationale that they are “adult-oriented performances that are harmful to minors.” The first offense would be classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in jail time of up to 11 months and 29 days and/or fines of up to $2500. The second or subsequent offenses would be classified as Class E felonies, which can lead to one to six years in prison and/or a fine of up to $3000.
The seven countries that make up Central America have some of the most restrictive laws for queer and trans citizens in the Americas, denying them basic human rights, such as protection against discrimination and violence based on their identities; marriage equality; and the ability to change their legal identification to reflect their lived name or gender. Though younger generations are trending toward inclusivity, this rise in progressive thinking has been closely followed by an even sharper spike in conservatism. Still, there are queer activists in Central America who refuse to turn their backs on their countries despite their countries turning their backs on them. Here are four queer activists who have dedicated their lives to fighting for change in the countries that they call home.
A deep dive into the history of legal rights for the LGBTQ+ community in the United States
Image from C-SPAN footage The United States Supreme Court has long been the focal point of political battles and tensions. The failed appointment of Robert Bork under former President Ronald Reagan served as the spark for a common practice known…