Early Results Are In: Anchorage Voters Reject Nation’s Worst Anti-Trans Bathroom Measure

Early results show Anchorage voters have rejected the nation’s worst anti-trans bathroom proposal.

A preliminary tally released by election officials on Tuesday night indicates that the campaign in favor Proposition 1, which would force trans people to use public bathrooms which correspond to their original birth certificate, trails by a seven-point margin. An estimated 53.9 percent of voters have cast a ballot against Prop. 1, while 46.1 percent voted in favor of the ballot measure.

Thus far, 49,000 ballots have been counted in the mail-in election, which is the first of its kind in Alaska’s largest city. Christopher Constant, one of two openly gay members of the Anchorage Assembly, tells INTO that more than 20,000 votes are still expected.

It’s not over yet, but supporters of LGBTQ rights say they are “cautiously optimistic” their side is headed for a win.

“[W]e’ve brought a lot of people here in support of usin opposition to Proposition 1,” said Fair Anchorage field organizer Lillian Lennon told the local news station KTUU on Tuesday. “We’ve built an amazing campaign, and regardless of the actual turnout, when all the ballots come in, I feel very confident.”

“The Anchorage transgender community has stepped up and led this campaign in such an amazing, powerful way,” added Fair Anchorage’s Kati Ward, who served as campaign manager for the effort to defeat Prop. 1, in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News.

But conservative groups pushing the anti-trans bathroom measure stressed that final results may not be available for days to come.

“I hope that the vote narrows at the margin arrows, and that we do better as the night goes on,” Kim Minnery of the Alaska Family Council, the group spearheading Prop. 1, claimed on Tuesday evening. “I expect that will happen.”

Jim Minnery, her husband and fellow Prop. 1 supporter, did not respond to requests for comment from media on Tuesday night.

As INTO previously reported, the passage of Prop. 1 would have a major impact on Anchorage’s LGBTQ community. If the ballot measure manages to prevail, it would overturn a two-year-old nondiscrimination ordinance passed by the Anchorage Assembly in a 9 to 2 vote. The ordinance provides equal access for queer and trans people in housing, employment, and all public accommodations.

Additionally, Prop. 1 would force a transgender woman to use the men’s restroom in public spaces, even if her birth certificate were updated.

Given that 70 percent of trans people already report being attacked or harassed in bathroom facilities at some point in their lives, trans people INTO spoke with in March feared a “Yes” vote would effectively force them out of public life.

The campaign pushing Prop. 1, however, branded transgender people as the real threat. A TV spot broadcast on local channels by the “Yes on 1” campaign in March featured a woman named “Kate” recalling an experience where she shared a locker room with a trans woman, who is referred to as a “biological man” throughout the segment.

Employees at the facility, she claims, refused to intervene. They told her she “was the one with the problem.”

“There is no screening,” Kate says in the segment, which aired alongside Megyn Kelly Today and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “There are no safeguards whatsoever. There’s no reassurance somebody can’t come in with harmful intentions.”

But INTO uncovered that “Kate” isn’t from Alaska. She lives in Minnesota, where she unsuccessfully lobbied in favor of an anti-trans bathroom bill.

Previous reports in this publication’s ongoing series on the Anchorage Prop. 1 election showed that the “Yes on 1” campaign frequently used misleading tactics in support of their cause.

Anti-LGBTQ groups aired a commercial featuring a women’s homeless shelter which ejected a transgender woman who, as the segment claims, “wanted to sleep and shower with the women.” The shelter, though, was not consulted before the ad ran. At least nine sources tell INTO the canvassers who petitioned to get Prop. 1 on the ballot did not tell locals it was about transgender people.

The campaign to defeat Prop. 1 has not escaped criticism, however. “Yes on 1” blasted Fair Anchorage for claiming the Anchorage Police Department opposes the anti-trans proposal, but local law enforcement has chosen to stay neutral.

INTO will continue to update with news on the election results as they come in.

Image via Fair Anchorage

‘Rise’ Episode 4 Recap: The Trouble With Football

So far, I’ve been earnestly, if cautiously, excited about Rise. There’s been a ton going for it, including its strong cast of teen performers, a realism that shows like Glee and Smash lacked, and a good source material score in Spring Awakening.

What I have been remiss in mentioning, very purposefully, is the plot dragging everything else about the series down: the football story. Yes, showrunner Jason Katims, veteran of Friday Night Lights, chose to inject Rise with as much football story as musical. The problem is that, whereas the musical story is dynamic and interesting, with a lot of different characters to care about and elements to play with, the football story all comes down to Robbie Thorne (Damon J. Gillespie). And as sweet and well-intended a character as Robbie is, he’s not nearly strong enough to sustain what is essentially the plot of half the show.

The football plot is as simple as you’d imagine: Theatre director Lou (Josh Radnor) wants starting quarterback Robbie as the lead in Spring Awakening. Coach Strickland (Joe Tippett) is against that idea, as he wants Robbie’s head in the game. The two adult men have a tug-of-war over the boy’s heart and soul. You’ve seen this same plot on Glee with Finn (the late Cory Monteith). It’s not new, fresh, interesting, or worth our time.

Unfortunately, the fourth episode of Rise decides that it is, in fact, worth our time, as well as nearly every other teen character’s time. Robbie throws what’s supposed to be a victory party at his house except thanks to him, his team loses a crucial game. The party is instead somber, and only gets worse when the theatre kids show up uninvited.

Assumedly, the hope here was to show the tension in Robbie’s life writ-large. Telling his would-be girlfriend Lillette (Auliʻi Cravalho) leads to an invasion of theatre kids, who chafe up against his teammates. The problem is that we don’t know half of the guests; the football players are uniform and uninteresting, because they haven’t been otherwise introduced. (The one exception is Lou’s benchwarmer son, Casey Johnson’s Gordy, who is trapped in an alcoholism plot I’d just rather ignore.)

Because we only know one side, we’re naturally drawn to them, especially after two football players misgender and mock trans theatre student Michael (Ellie Desautels). Sure, the theatre kids weren’t technically invited, and thus you could argue their presence is irritating. (They do sing at one point, and it is incredibly representative of how annoying a party full of performers can be.) But we’re never going to take the side of faceless bullies, and that’s all the football team is to us right now.

But as lame as the rest of the football plot is, there’s really nothing as gross to watch as Lillette’s interaction with Robbie’s father. He senses that Lillette, as she stands in for the whole of the theatre department, could be distracting Robbie. So he decides to get involved, going so far as to tell Lillette that she’s a distraction.

I’m sure this kind of conversation happens more than I’d like to admit. I went to school in Texas; I know how intense parents can be about football. But boy, is it horrifying to watch happen. It puts an undue amount of stress on Lillette, and basically throws a big ol’ Conflict Ball into their relationship. I personally don’t care a ton about this romance, largely because teen relationships are transient and I’m sure, if Rise has a life beyond this season, they’ll date plenty of other people. But it’s absolutely an absurd act of parenting, one that makes it incredibly easy to sympathize with Robbie.

That’s all Robbie has right now, though: our sympathy. He’s a solid singer and actor, and a nice guy, but he’s nowhere near as dynamic as Lillette, or Michael, or Simon (Ted Sutheland), or Gwen (Amy Forsyth). If Rise wants to continue to make him the de facto lead, he’s gotta step up to the plate, and give us not just someone to feel bad for, but someone to root for.

The next episode of Rise will air Tuesday, April 10, at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Georden West Reimagines ‘Romeo & Juliet’ in Stunning ‘New Montague’ Photo Series

The New Montague is a celebration of queerness and identity within context of real and reimagined histories. Working with models Lia Bass and Yaa, they give clear evidence of romantic queer history to best counter collective memory’s covert and forgotten. Yaa is our contemporary Juliet and Lia is the New Montaguea mixture of the Romeo of a historical moment and the Romeo of modernity.

For Georden West, this series is in discussion with the John William Waterhouse paintings of her childhood, which were celebrated within her family system as representative of romanticized historical romance but pieces of art she could never situate herself in as a queer woman.

Wardrobe

‘Drag Race’ Contestants Farrah Moan, Shea Coulee Get Into Verbal Spat at Kebab Shop

This is definitely not RuPaul’s Best Friends Race.

Two contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race’s ninth season Farrah Moan and finalist Shea Coulee were at a kebab shop in Newcastle, England, when someone began to shout anti-gay slurs at the two queens.

Video of part of the incident was posted to YouTube from Instagram. While Farrah is blowing kisses to the camera, you can hear someone yell “Slut!” to her from off camera.

Farrah Moan responds by saying, “We’re touring the world being gay while you’re living in Newcastle with your crusty ass eyelashes.”

One girl responded by calling Farrah Moan a “walking STD.”

Farrah Moan responded to the incident on Twitter, saying there’s “no need to apologize” on behalf of Newcastle.
“There’s homophobic twats all over the world,” Farrah added. “Love you guys!”

Farrah did add that she didn’t “maintain her classiness” in the video, but we don’t mind. We’re over here watching like:

Malaysian University Approves Contest to Convert LGBTQ Students

One Malaysian university is under fire for a controversial extracurricular activity.

The Muslim Students Association at Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, Malaysia, held a forum to convert LGBTQ students last month, Reuters reports.

According to NBC News, the forum was also a contest in which students created posters to help LGBTQ students who have “disorders in sexual orientation.” The forum under which the contest was held was “Back to Fitrah.” Fitrah roughly translated means “instinct” or “human nature.”

One organizer, Abdul Hadi Radzi, told NBC News that the goal of the event was “menyantuni LGBT,” which translates to “reach out to LGBT.”

“We are trying to educate people,” he said. “This is our view to correct LGBT. Not to persecute. Not to condemn them.”

According to NBC News, the university sanctioned the students’ Back to Fitrah program.

Thilaga Sulathireh, founder of the Malaysian trans advocacy group Justice for Sisters, said this mentality drives much of the anti-LGBTQ sentiment in Malaysia. It’s a burgeoning trend of “dakwah,” or conversion through Islam, she explained.

“It’s not an isolated incident,” Sulathireh told NBC. “It’s part of a series of anti-LGBT and state-sponsored things that are happening.”

Sulathireh is correct. Just last year, Malaysian health authorities held a similar contest inviting people to submit videos on how to prevent homosexuality and “transgenderism.” Earlier in 2018, INTO reported that a regional Malaysian government had begun holding courses to convert trans people.

Human Rights Watch describes discrimination against LGBTQ people in Malaysia as “pervasive” and violence against queer people remains a “serious concern.”

Gay sex remains illegal in Malaysia, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Conversion therapy remains a problem in the United States, as well, with only 10 states explicitly banning the process.

Louisiana School Will Print Trans Senior’s Yearbook Photo, Denies Discrimination

A transgender high school senior reportedly barred from her school’s yearbook over her gender presentation will be featured along with her classmates after a Change.org petition and a media firestorm. But school officials say they never discriminatedto begin with.

Kami Pham, a senior at Southwood High School in Shreveport, La., says Principal Jeff Roberts told her that her photo would not be published in the yearbook because she wore a wig and “feminine” attire while the gender marker on her birth certificate says “male.”

“It was shocking [because] we hardly have dress code violations in general on campus,” says Pham’s friend Tatjana Cotton, who helped her launch a social media campaign to overturn the decision. “So it was shocking that Kami was getting called out.”

According to a Change.org petition backing Pham, Roberts told Pham in March that her photo was “inappropriate” and wouldn’t be published.

“A principal at a high school in Louisiana has decided at the last minute to cut a transgender senior’s picture from the yearbook,” the petition states. “The principal also threatened not to let the student walk at graduation if she dresses similarly to her photo.”

The petition has picked up 4,500 signatures as of publication. The reports stirred a national media sensation and widespread support for Pham, with LGBTQ outlets and national press picking up the story.

ThinkProgress noted that nothing in the school’s handbook would barred students like Pham from expressing their gender identity in dress.

But a spokesperson for the district says the school fully supports Pham presenting how she identifies.

“The photo is able to be published as well as there was never any grounds in regard to [the] graduation [story],” says Mary Nash Wood, a spokesperson for Caddo Parish Public Schools. “In regard to the district’s stance on this, we’ve been very clear with our schools as well as our community that we see the rights of all students as including their ability, when it comes to dress, as a part of their first amendment rights to freedom of expression.”

Wood says privacy concerns prevent her from going into too many details about Pham’s case. But she said the controversy arose when school officials attempted to confirm that the photo was one that Pham preferred.

“The photo was questioned to ensure that it was the photo that Kami would like to be used and in that, the principal chose to meet with Kami this morning to discuss that,” Wood said.

Following the meeting, both Pham and the district confirmed to INTO that the photo would be published in the yearbook.

Pham said she felt “amazing” with the outcome.

“Finally it makes it in!” she tellsINTO.

Asked to confirm or refute the district’s version of events, Pham said affirmed that the photo would finally be published but declined to say if district officials gave a dishonest account of what originally transpired.

“I don’t want to say the wrong thing,” she said, “Me and my friend know what is true.”

But Pham encouraged INTO to reach out to a teacher a the school. As of publication, the teacher had not responded to a request to comment.

Cotton, however, does refute the district’s version of events.

“They are definitely being dishonest, because Kami posted about the situation a few times before we decided to take action and start our online petition,” says Cotton.

Caddo Parish Public Schools serve 40,000 students, according to Wood. She says transgender students are not new to the district. She was unable to say if schools had previously dealt with yearbook photo issues.

Wood added that Pham would be offered a choice in graduation gown options, which are color-coordinated, according to gender.

“At this time, Kami is saying that she would like to dress in female attire and so we’re honoring that just as with any other student from our graduating class,” Wood says.

Singapore Bans Teens From Watching ‘Love, Simon’—But Fish-Woman Romance Is OK

A petition is calling on Singapore to lift restrictions forbidding anyone under 21 from seeing Love, Simon in theaters.

The Greg Berlanti-directed film has been heralded as the first gay teen romcom ever produced by a major studio. But as fan Thasha Monique Dharmendra points out in a Change.org petition, its current rating of R21 would prevent its target audience from seeing the film.

Dharmendra calls the decision “ridiculous.”

“[T]here is no sexual intercourse or violence involved,” she claims in a heartfelt plea to the South Asian country’s ratings board. “It’s just a harmless coming of age movie where the main character happens to be gay.

“I understand that the older generations are hostile toward the LGBTQ community, thus, leading to some younger generations to just follow suit,” Dharmendra continues. “However, a young Singaporean teen struggling with their sexuality might find themself relating and finding comfort in this movie.”

The petition’s creator urges Singapore to lower the age restriction to NC16, the closest equivalent to the MPAA’s PG-13 rating in the U.S.

“I am positive that it will have a huge impact on young teenagers struggling to find acceptance from family and friends,” Dharmendra says. “It will also educate people that being free and accepted is just what everyone in this extensive community wants.”

“Hopefully, it will also change people’s negative perception of the LGBTQ community,” she adds.

Singapore’s Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) has alleged the film is inappropriate for youth due to its “homosexual theme.” In a statement, the media advisory group says “the theme of homosexuality forms the main narrative of the film.”

“The protagonist is portrayed to overcome his fear of being rejected as a gay male; and coupled with the support of his friends, gradually gains confidence to seek out the real identity of his love interest,” it claims.

IMDA also took issue with some “verbal sexual references” throughout the film.

“These include scenes such as, a man who barges into his son’s room and apologizes for interrupting the latter’s attempt at masturbating; a teenage boy who gives a verbal account of his first sexual encounter; and verbal exchanges that make reference to the male and female genitalia,” the board continues.

But critics of the R21 rating note that IMDA was far more lenient in its classification of Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water.

The Best Picture champ, which includes a graphic depiction of the romance between a fish-man and a mute cleaning woman, skated by a an M18. While Love, Simon briefly features a kiss between the titular character (played by Nick Robinson) and a male classmate, The Shape of Water features full-frontal nudity, bestiality, and a scene depicting female masturbation.

As if to further point out the absurdity of Singapore’s ratings system, M18 is the same rating the Oscar-winning gay romance Moonlight received when it was released in the country last year.

Critics say the controversy is yet another reminder that LGBTQ Singaporeans have great strides to make before they are accepted.

Although Singapore struck down a colonial-era law banning “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” in 2007, it retained policies specifically targeting gay sex. Under Section 377A, being convicted of same-sex intercourse can result in up to two years behind bars.

The law was unsuccessfully challenged in Singapore’s Court of Appeal in 2014, which claimed the anti-sodomy code is “constitutional.”

Mahendrawhose petition has garnered more than 14,000 signatures of its 20,000 goal at the time of writingdoesn’t think allowing teens to see Love, Simon will fix the myriad problems the LGBTQ community faces. But she says it’s a start.

“You might think Singapore is a country where there a little to no LGBTQ teens, however, I assure you that they have just been overcome by the internalised homophobia this country has,” Mahendra says. “I also think that reducing the age limit will be a step in the right direction for a more inclusive society.”

“I personally know many individuals who are afraid of coming out and a movie like this will show them that they are not alone and that there is hope,” she adds.

Love, Simon will be released in Singapore on May 3, 2018. It has received a PG rating in Canada, a 12A rating in Ireland, an R-13 rating in the Philippines, a 15 rating in South Korea, a 12A rating in the United Kingdom, and a PG-13 rating in the United States.

Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds Announces 2nd LGBTQ Loveloud Fest

Festival season is underway, and we’re making an effort to hit up all the necessary events. From Coachella to Lollapalooza, some of our favorite musical acts are hitting the stage.

But this year, we’re adding one more to the list. Now in its second year, the Loveloud Festival in Salt Lake City is hosted by Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons. With a mission to encourage greater love, communication, and understanding for the LGBTQ community, the proceeds benefit local and national LGBTQ charities, including Encircle, Trevor Project, and the Tegan and Sara Foundation. This year’s festival is sponsored by AT, who supports the Trevor Project’s suicide prevention and crisis intervention service, as well as other initiatives that promote safety and inclusion for LGBTQ youth.

“We at Loveloud are determined to help create a more loving and accepting environment for them, while also hoping to raise more than $1 million dollars for local and national LGBTQ+ charities,” Reynolds says. “We look forward to a day dedicated to celebrating their diversity while listening to great music and inspiring speakers.”

Such great music includes performances by Imagine Dragons, Grace Vanderwaal, Tyler Glenn, and Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda. Stand-up comic, actor, and writer, Cameron Esposito will also perform, as well as emcee the festivities. More performers and speakers will be announced in the next few weeks.

“Loveloud’s inspiring goal is to raise $1 million dollars for LGBTQ+ organizations in one day, and we know that this amazing program of music and speakers will entertain, educate and inspire everyone who comes out in support on July 28,” said Tegan and Sara. “We started the Tegan and Sara Foundation to bring resources and attention to issues affecting the LGBTQ community, and we are proud to work with the Loveloud team to amplify their urgent message of acceptance and unconditional love.”

Loveloud Festival takes place Saturday, July 28 at Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 6 online. Presale tickets are available Wednesday, with code: IMAGINEDRAGONS

Arkansas House Candidate Says ‘Fags Are Disgusting,’ Won’t Drop Out of Race

Critics are calling on a House candidate in Arkansas to drop out the race after he claimed “fags are disgusting” and spread HIV in a Facebook rant.

District 87 hopeful Justin Jones made the offending remarks during a heated exchange with Myah Baeza, a Hawaii woman frustrated that her gay male friends cannot donate blood under current U.S. guidelines. In order to donate to agencies like the Red Cross, men who have sex with men (MSMs) have to remain celibate for a year in order to give blood.

“This is such an antiquated rule and it disgusts me,” Baeza said. “Women can have AIDS, too, and they search for it anyways?”

Jones responded to her post by defending the one-year deferral period, claiming that a “fag” is “1000% more likely than any straight person” to contract HIV. When challenged by Baeza as to why he would make such an assertion, the Elm Springs libertarian said, “Because it’s true.”

“Fags are disgusting,” Jones said.

“If you don’t think HIV is created by homosexuality then you need education,” he continued in a poorly punctuated diatribe. “That’s the entirety of my post, for someone who wants free speech, you don’t act like it. I shouldn’t have said ‘fags’ should have said homosexuals. But I won’t apologize of the moral of my comment, homosexuality is wrong, and shouldn’t be publicly endorsed.”

Baeza said Jones should be forced to abandon the race as a result of his homophobic remarks.

“When you’re running for public office, no matter if you disagree with your constituents, you’re still supposed to be representing them,” she told the Little Rock news station KARK-TV this week. “And how are you going to represent someone who you think is ‘disgusting?’”

“It just really upset me that there’s still people out there who feel like they can publicly say these kinds of things without ridicule,” Baeza continued.

The local Libertarian Party swiftly condemned his statements.

“Mr. Jones was until very recently a Republican supporter and candidate,” said Michael Kalagias, chair of the Benton County Libertarian Party, in a press release. “He came to the Libertarian Party, as have many others, because of his dissatisfaction with their failed policies and actions. The bigotry he brought with him, however, is certainly not welcome.”

He added that such rhetoric would not be “tolerated by the Benton County Libertarian Party, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas, or the national Libertarian Party, nor should it be tolerated by any decent person of any political party.”

In a statement, Party Chairman Dr. Michael Pakko said his beliefs are “antithetical” to those of true libertarians.

“We believe that the rights of the individual are paramountthat each person has the right to make decisions for themselves about what activities to pursue, what foods to eat, what beverages to drink, and who to love,” Pakko claimed in a statement.

“Mr. Jones is within his rights to associate with gay individuals or not, and to have opinions of his own about morality,” he added, “but the denigrating, insulting comments that have been attributed to him have no place in the political messaging of the Libertarian Party, and we disassociate ourselves from such offensive remarks.”

The Benton County Libertarian Party called upon Jones to “immediately abandon his campaign for office.”

Kalagias further urged the candidate “to refrain from returning to the political arena until such time as he has gained enough knowledge, wisdom, and maturity to do so responsibly.”

But Jones isn’t going anywhere, he claims.

“In response to the backlash caused by the media, it has been brought to my attention that I should suspend my campaign,” Jones said in a statement posted on his website. “After a phone call with the Chair of the Benton County Libertarian Party, Michael J. Kalagias, I informed him, that I will continue my candidacy for State Representative.”

“My candidacy is about the people of Elm Springs, Siloam Springs, Springdale, and Tontitown,” he added. “My campaign will continue to fight on the behalf of District 87. I would like to thank everyone for their support in my growing campaign.”

In a non-apology referencing President Donald Trump, Jones claimed the remarks were “satire.”

“In the new day of Social Media, we face backlash for every comment we make, which is putting ‘Free Speech’ at a price,” Jones said in a statement published after the controversy gained national attention. “The AIDS Epidemic is a VERY big part of the LGBTQ Community. To not recognize that would be a ‘Lie’ to yourself and the LGBTQ Community.

“In this New Day of politics, we are recognizing the benefits of throwing away the old establishment, and how that didn’t work,” he continued. “Today, we are bringing back ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH,’ and protecting our 2nd amendment rights.

“That might be too much for some people, but that’s why we’re getting them out of Public Office,” Jones added. “Let’s get back to ‘Making Arkansas Great Again.’”

He closed with a reminder to vote for him on election day.

But the conservative state appears not to be buying what Jones is selling. According to the Arkansas Times, a majority of responses on his Facebook page said Jones’ comments aren’t reflective of his community’s values.

“Satire? I know satire sir, and that was not satire,” said fellow libertarian Bobbi Hicks, currently running in District 10. “What that is, however, is a comment that is going to lead potential voters to have the wrong idea about the LP and what we stand for. As a candidate, I will likely have to answer for your offensive comment.”

Jones will face off in the District 87 race against Democrat Kelly Scott Unger and Republican incumbent Robin Lundstrom.

The ‘Lesbian Writer’ Who Danced With Nancy Reagan

A new book about Nancy Regan is out, and in it, the author writes about a time when the former first lady danced with a “very successful lesbian writer” at the wedding of producers Lucy Fisher and Douglas Wick.

“Without missing a beat,” Reagan’s former press secretary, Sheila Tate writes, “Nancy said, ‘You lead.’ And off they went to the dance floor.”

It didn’t take much research to locate this “LESBIAN!” mentioned in Lady in Red: An Intimate Portrait and subsequent salacious press. According to Can I Go Now?: The Life of Sue Mengers, Hollywood’s First Superagent, this story is well-known. Author Brian Kellows writes in Can I Go Now?: “Sue told screenwriter Patricia Resnick that she would give her five hundred dollars if she cut in on Nancy Reagan on the dance floor. Resnick did it and danced with the First Lady, much to Sue’s delight.”

Resnick, who famously wrote 9 to 5 and is currently working on the long-awaited reboot with Rashida Jones, once blogged about the experience of dancing with Mrs. Reagan. She was drunk, she writes, and “Sue insisted she wanted to dance with the First Lady and that led to general speculation on whether or not anyone ever cuts in on the First Lady. And then the life changing moment.”

Mengers dared her entire table to ask the First Lady to dance.

“Without another thought, I pushed back from the table, strode across the dance floor and firmly tapped Doug Wick on his shoulder,” Resnick wrote. “‘May I cut in?”’I said as demurely as a drunken lesbian can. Nancy stepped back from Doug thinking that I wanted to dance with him.”

She said to Nancy: “Oh no, I need to dance with you.”

“And miracle of miracles, Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the United States, without saying a word or asking a question put her little arms up in the air and came toward me. An orchestra played ‘Embraceable You’ as I moved her along in a box step, the only slow dance move I knew,” Resnick writes.

She goes on to say the Secret Service men standing near by “didn’t seem at all pleased.”

“Was it against the law for a woman to dance with the first lady? I figured I better start talking and start talking fast,” Resnick wrote. So she told the First Lady about the bet, and asked if she wanted to split the money. “Nancy just smiled and said, ‘That’s alright, dear. You can keep the money.”

When the song was over, they parted ways. But the next morning, Resnick was alerted that queer gossip columnist Liz Smith was going to include the tidbit in her next column.

“I had no idea whether she said, ‘Isn’t that adorable’ or ‘Big Dyke Accosts First Lady at Wedding,'” Resnick wrote. “I seriously began to question if I might have done irreparable damage to my career. So much in Hollywood is not about what you do but how you are perceived. If you are perceived as a First Lady attacking lunatic, you can be fairly sure that not a lot of people are going to be banging your door down to work with you.”

But when she finally got someone to read her the column over the phone, she was relieved to find “the whole thing was taken as a clever joke in which Nancy and I collapsed in giggles.” She corrected Smith: “Inaccurate reporting, Liz. I don’t giggle. I’m not that girly. And the farthest Nancy ventured towards giggledom was a weak smile.”

Though she did it for a laugh, Resnick was not a fan of Nancy or her husband’s politics (her mom was very upset with her for even dancing with Nancy), and, according to her Twitter feed, was much more into Hillary.

For the last decade, Resnick has been working on a memoir called Dancing with Nancy Reagan, but has kept busy in Hollywood writing, most recently, episodes of Recovery Road and The Arrangement. In 2016, she wrote an open letter to To the Board of Governors of the Academy when they tried to remove her in order to bring in young members in response to #OscarsSoWhite backlash.

“I happen to be female and I’m also gay, another underrepresented minority, and yet, because I haven’t been hired on a film in the last 10 years, I am to be booted into the ’emeritus’ status and replaced by younger members who are being asked to join in order to help you deal with a publicity nightmare,” she wrote. “By the way, the actors branch nominated or didn’t nominate certain actors. Replacing sexism and racism with ageism is not the answer. It’s like deciding to boycott graduation at a college that is not diverse instead of the admissions office. The problems lie with the motion picture business decision-makers, not the Academy members.”

Images via Twitter and Getty