Rainbow Crosswalks Around the World Are Being Vandalized During LGBTQ Pride Month

A Paris crosswalk has been targeted for the second time in three days amidst a wave of vandalism attacks on pro-LGBTQ displays across the world.

 

Just days before the French capital celebrates its annual LGBTQ Pride event (“Marche des Fiertés”), a temporary crosswalk in Paris’ Marais district was vandalized on Thursday with the phrase “dictature LGBT” (“LGBT dictatorship”) spray painted across the blacktop. It was accompanied by a direct threat to Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has blasted the spate of homophobic displays.

 

“Hidalgo dégage,” the message read, translating to “Hidalgo get out.”

 

On Monday, a similar warning was discovered in the city’s famous gay neighborhood and shopping district. The words “LGBT Hors De France” (“LGBT Out of France”) were scrawled at the same location in white paint.

 

The messages reveal a reawakening of anti-LGBTQ sentiment in France two years year after protesters took to the streets to demonstrate against same-sex marriage, legalized in May 2013. Numbering an estimated 200,000 people, the marchers held signs like “All Together for the Family” and “A Father and a Mother—It’s Hereditary.”

 

Calling Paris a “city of refuge that supports the republican values of liberty, equality, and fraternity,” Hidalgo vowed in a series of tweets to keep the City of Love from being engulfed by another torrent of hate.

 

“In order to inscribe [those values] forever on these walls, the rainbow crosswalks created for Pride will be made permanent!” she pledged.

 

France’s largest city, though, is just one of many municipalities across the world that have struggled in the past year to shield their rainbow crosswalks paying tribute to the LGBTQ community from being vandalized by opponents of equality.

 

These include Nantes, France and Tucson, AZ, the former of which had its rainbow staircase targeted. In Atlanta, sections of the city’s Pride crosswalk mysteriously vanished earlier this year and had to be replaced in March. Restoring the intersection reportedly cost Georgia taxpayers thousands of dollars.

 

Canada, in particular, has witnessed an epidemic of anti-LGBTQ vandalism in several towns across the Great White North, and many of these incidents took place just days and even hours after the brightly colored intersections were installed. Those targeted include crosswalks in Courtenay, British Columbia; Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia; Lethbridge, Alberta; Surrey, British Columbia; and Waterloo, Ontario, four of which occured over the past month.

 

These public displays were tagged with white paint or desecrated with tire marks. In the case of Fort Langley, British Columbia, its Pride crosswalk was vandalized in September 2017 by an unknown vehicle before the paint had even dried. Just hours later, the other side of the crosswalk was marred with a second set of tire marks.

 

Many of the culprits behind these attacks remain unknown. But in a rare moment of contrition, the vandal responsible for defacing a rainbow crosswalk in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan came forward to apologize and promised to pay for the damage.

 

The 20-year-old perpetrator—whose name was not revealed to media—alleged that it was not intended to be a statement against the LGBTQ community.

 

Some cities have managed to repair the damage done to their Pride crosswalks, but others face challenges to restoring them. After Waterloo’s rainbow intersection was defaced in June with jet-black tire streaks, resident Peter Houston told local media that the city council informed him there was no budget to repair the sidewalk.

 

“It is hoped that it will fade over time,” Houston told the Waterloo Chronicle. “My reply was, the mark may fade but the statement won’t.”

 

LGBTQ leaders say these incidents are an unfortunate symbol of the challenges faced by sexual and gender minorities around the globe. A representative of the Southern Ontario city’s queer advocacy group, Cait Glasson, claimed that she’s “so unsurprised as to be almost anti-surprised.”

 

“This is the very reason we need these kinds of markers: both for the Pride it brings to our community, and to show our neighbours just the kind of thing we have to deal with on a regular basis,” Glasson told the Chronicle.

 

“We all expected the bigots to show themselves, and they have,” she added.

 

The recent wave of vandalism targeting Pride crosswalks coincides with similar incidents at LGBTQ community centers following Donald Trump’s election to the presidency. Since November 2016, spaces for queer and transgender people have been graffitied or shot up in Arizona, California, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.

 

In Washington, D.C., a staff member at the trans community center was physically assaulted by a male attacker in March 2017.

Betty Who’s New Music Video is Extremely Gay

Pop singer Jessica Anne Newman, known onstage as Betty Who, just dropped the video for her latest single “Taste,” and spoiler alert: it’s super queer. As a gay woman, I often get asked the question: “So if you like women, are you attracted to yourself?” My answer always has been and continues to be “Yes.” Betty’s new music video serves piping hot evidentiary support of such claims, proving that we all just want to fuck ourselves.

 

In the video, a stripped-down Betty gives a seductive, titillating lap dance to a faceless person—who we assume is a man—only to find out: the lap dance recipient is also her! Throughout the sexy banger, the two Who’s take turns in mastering the art of seduction, and eventually maul each other for a steamy make-out. We’re totally feeling the pop singer’s butch vibe, and all the passionate women-loving-women touching.

 

Earlier this month, Newman released the EP Betty Who Pt. 1, her first EP release in five years. The artist has been a luminary for the LGBTQ community, having worked with the Trevor Project and GLAAD in the past.

 

“I don’t think I’d have a career if it weren’t for the LGBTQ community,” she told NewNowNext. “There were like 80 gay men at my first New York show. And that was it. I feel most at home within the [LGBTQ] community because it’s a space where I can be myself, share my stories, vulnerabilities, and they can share theirs with me.”

 

Her visibility in the community is huge—she recently remixed the Queer Eye theme song and gave it her own infectious, pop-perfected twist. She makes daily efforts to support, uplift, and normalize queer people—and for that reason, we’ve continued to stan.

 

A second EP, Betty Who Pt. 2, will drop this fall, followed by a full-length studio album next year.

Hannah Hart and LGBTQ Celebrities Join INTO and BuzzFeed for Pride Live To Benefit GLAAD On YouTube

Today, INTO is joining BuzzFeed and YouTube to re-up the telethon–only this time, it’s queer AF.

Hannah Hart is hosting Pride Live, and the star-studded three-hour special, airing for free on YouTube, will raise money for GLAAD and all the work the non-profit does to make sure LGBTQ people are not only visible but accurately represented in all areas of the media. Joining the My Drunk Kitchen star is a line-up of queer and trans influencers and icons who will perform and participate in the variety show featuring games and giveaways, all in an effort to give some much-needed attention and cash to GLAAD.

Here’s some of the talent you can expect to see pop by Pride Live: Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart, Shea Diamond, Sam Stryker, Stephen LaConte, Ryann Graham, Fernando Padron, Curly Velasquez, Kelsey Darragh, Wrabel, Laith Ashley, Amber’s Closet, Ava Pearl, Ryan Cassata, Brandon Stansell, Miles McKenna, Stephanie Rice, Jacob Tobia, Miles Jai, Trevor Moran, Kingsley, Alexandra Grey, Isis King, Trace Lysette, Sam Tsui, D’Lo, Dexter Mayfield, Jazzmyne Robbins, Flula Borg, Alyson Stoner, Raymond Braun, Brittani Nichols, Jake Shears, Betty Who, Asapscience, and Ashly Perez.

“There is something exhilarating about being a part of a live moment,” Hart says. “As an entertainer who got my start on YouTube, I want the next generation to get to know GLAAD as intimately as I do. I wanted to launch ‘Pride Live,’ to showcase creative queer forces – from both online and off – to deliver an unforgettable show for a cause dear to my heart. I am so thrilled to be partnered with Buzzfeed and INTO to bring this show to life.”

Join us as we stream Pride Live from GLAAD’s YouTube — today, Friday, June 29 from 12-3pm PST.

20 Queer Q’s with Jeffrey Gerson

The 20 Queer Qs series seeks to capture LGBTQ+ individuals (and allies) in a moment of authenticity. We get to know the subjects, what makes them who they are, and what they value.

 

These intimate conversations aim to leave you, the reader, feeling like you just gained a new friend or a new perspective.

 

This month, get to know Jeffrey Gerson, who is a San Francisco based photographer and storyteller who also does amazing things as the Product Marketing Manager for Instagram. Learn about his thoughts on LGBTQ+ media representation, values he looks for in an ideal partner, what pride means to him, his advice for LGBTQ+ youth, and more.

————————–

Name: Jeffrey Gerson

Age: 28

Preferred Pronouns: He/Him

Sexually Identifies As: Gay Male

 

 

  • What do you love about the LGBTQ+ community? I love that it is a community. I think the most wonderful part is that you have these wonderful groups of people who were brought together in a way that gives you something in common. It gives you some form of common ground and solidarity.

 

 

  • What are your thoughts on PrEP? I think anything that creates more conversation around HIV awareness is a very valuable thing to have. Watching the conversations that have happened around PrEP have been extremely inspiring because I think a lot of people are talking a lot more openly about HIV again. Not that it’s something that our community forgot about, but I think it’s good. I’m also concerned with things that have happened with the patent around PrEP and access to it.

 

 

  • What are your thoughts on dating in the LGBTQ+ community? It is a bit different. I feel like we don’t necessarily have the luxury of being able to date anywhere. Not every man you bump into is going to be gay and available so we have fewer bars, fewer places. I think that in the straight world, you have places, and then places you go to date. For us, the world that belongs to us is more condensed. A lot of times things can get mixed up and that makes it more difficult. I think the queer population are digital natives when it comes to dating. We do so much more with dating apps and in tech and sort of rely on it too which makes it interesting and difficult in its own ways.

 

  • Do you think it’s hard to make queer friends? I’ve been lucky enough that it’s been easy to find a queer network wherever I’ve been for the most part. I think from there, it’s a matter of who are the people who you click with. I think there’s a point where you come to realize, “Oh I don’t have to be best friends with you just because we are both queer.” Although, when you start out it can feel that way, and then from that, moving to, “Yes these are my friends in my queer community.” Friends aren’t fundamentally something you stumble upon or that happen to you. Friends are something you invest in. So I think it’s finding the people you click with, who you want to have in your life, and investing in those friendships and relationships, and you hope those people invest equally back into you,  you invest that time together and that’s what friendship is. Are you showing up? Are you giving them your time? Are you genuinely concerned about their feelings, who they are, what their dreams are, what they’re pursuing? I don’t know if it’s a hard or rare thing. It’s just a willingness to put the work in and invest in the people around you.

 

 

  • What does Pride mean to you? Pride is about community and opportunity. Pride is not about a giant parade and a rainbow flag. I think it’s about community because Pride as a cultural moment comes once a year and I think you have this one fundamental month where you do start thinking much more about your identity, who is in your life, who is queer, and how you get those relationships together. I think it also opens up a lot of conversations about your identity and about your relationships with those people. So today even on my trip to New York, a friend of mine hosted a small family dinner. It was a cross of different experiences and seeing where things overlap and where they don’t. That, for me, where you’re able to share your experiences authentically and have them reflected back to you in open dialogue, is the best thing that can come from Pride. I think honestly the opportunity part of Pride is that if you are a business or corporation and you do see an opportunity, it is one to lose. One of the things I hope businesses I hope are waking up to is that fundamentally, it’s not about, “Oh we put a rainbow on something, look how visible we are!” It’s cool, but how could you have used that funding to invest in the queer community? What did you do? How did you give back? How did you actually invest resources in our community that makes it more successful and sustainable?

 

  • Do you think LGBTQ+ have it easier? It gets better, does it get easier? It’s apples and oranges. I think there’s a fundamental disconnect in the way it’s often compared. Because as older generations, we tend to reductively assume yes, there is much more representation and acceptance for white gay men in America, but I think we’re in this interesting spot now when those were partially our issues and issues for the generation before us. But the generation that is currently leading and coming to the floor is leading the charge for queer people of color, trans issues, intersex issues, and I think it would be ridiculous to belittle their experience like it’s easier for them when they’re tackling issues that don’t have that representation always. Once you get into the world, and as these people attempt to advocate for or create space for these identities, they are often reporting into generations of people who are stuck into their own issues and don’t pave the way for them to do so. They’re very inspiring.
  • What’s advice you have for LGBTQ+ youth? Just always remember there’s strength in community and you should never be afraid to reach out to someone who you think is doing something really cool, who really inspires you, who you consider a role model. And when you reach out, if you like what they’re doing, ask how you can help because people are always looking for help, especially in our community and the more we can help each other, the better.

 

 

  • Do you believe in love? Yes! Absolutely, I believe in love in all its forms. It’s friends, family, romance, desire, there’s so many different types of love that we tend to discount the power of love by trying to paint it into a single definition, and it often becomes the hardest to find when we’re surrounded by the rest of it.

 

 

  • What are values that you look for in an ideal partner? The most important ones, the balance that I always look for is a combination of passion and curiosity. Someone who’s passionate about something, anything, but is also curious enough about the rest of the world and what else is happening around them. You very easily can find on or the other.

 

 

  • Fill in the Blank: Drag Queens are _______. Inspiring.

 

 

  • Describe what being queer is like in a couple of words.  The best thing that ever happened to me.
  • Use 3-5 words to describe your coming out experience? Somehow surprisingly lucky.

 

 

  • How do you feel about LGBTQ+representation in media? Representation is increasing and that’s a good thing. However, it’s not increasing equally. I wish that for every Call Me By Your Name, we had a Moonlight, but that’s not the case. There are things that I am inspired by and that are doing well and others maybe were a bit more complex. Mass media representation has a huge effect because that’s going into the living room of a scared teenager who’s never seen anyone in the LGBTQ+ community like that. But one of the things I find a bit more concerning, is that you have increasing representation, but it’s not people who are always queer. I thought Call Me By Your Name was a stunning film, but there was no reason not to have cast any queer actors in that film and the same thing goes for Love, Simon. Fortunately, Blue who was played by Keiynan Lonsdale is doing great things with his queerness and taking charge of that in a wonderful way. It should not be on the actor, it should be on the industry to do a better job. This is something we can learn from that’s happening in African American cinema like Black Panther. Where you are hiring people from your population to portray and tell their own stories. Which is why I’m floored that we have something like POSE for the first time. The genius of POSE is that takes the mainstream popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race which has become so popular to the point where people forget where these terms come from, along with this crazy 80s zeitgeist where the 80s are coming back in a great way, and it brings them together to bring you right back to Paris is Burning. It reminds you where all of it came from and in doing so, has invested all of its money in hiring a massive cast of trans people of color for the first time, it’s unprecedented. I am so deeply inspired by it but still so angry that we are lauding them for doing the right thing when that should be the standard.

 

 

  • Is there a LGBTQ+ TV show or movie that has had a great impact on you? Probably Paris is Burning. Which feels like a strange thing to say because I’m not part of that community on so many levels, but I’ve always been inspired by the ways Jennie Livingston, as a documentary filmmaker, basically went in and used her position as a filmmaker in New York to  open up space for these people to tell their stories, share their world, and look at what it’s led to. I think about Paris is Burning a lot.

 

 

  • Fill in the Blank: When you think of comfort you think of _________. Cool breeze on a warm day and the sound of wind chimes.

 

 

  • What do you feel most insecure about? That I’m not doing enough, which is interesting because most of my friends would say that I am the person they know who is doing the most. I feel like if you’re able to identify the set of skills you have, you have a responsibility to put them to good use.

 

 

  • What is the title of the current chapter of your life? In Which New Opportunities Unfold.

 

 

  • What song makes you feel the most confident, makes you feel better about yourself? Thunder” by Imagine Dragons. I especially love the version they do with K.Flay.

 

 

  • Who is someone in your life who gets you? I’m lucky enough to have three wonderful best friends. I think they’re my people.
  • What quality have you gained in your experience a gay man? Perspective. I think it gives you so much perspective and I think you understand the world in a very different and valuable way. You understand the reason things like representation and visibility matter. You understand things like privilege and if you tap into it, and are aware of it enough, you understand the value of community. It gives you a great amount of empathy and I think it also to me, gives you a sense of responsibility as well.

 

 

 

Check out Jeffrey’s photos over on his site and keep up with him over on Instagram and Twitter for any new updates and projects!

What You Didn’t See at the ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 10 Finale

RuPaul’s Drag Race fans across the country just watched Aquaria snatch the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar, becoming the 10th queen to do so in the show’s decade of being on the air. But of course, through the magic of television, fans were actually watching something that happened three weeks ago.

 

Drag Race’s Season 10 finale filmed at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on June 8. I know this, because I was in the audience. This was just after the top five episode had aired, and we’d seen Miz Cracker go home. Michelle Visage, the pre-show host for the evening, had to spoil it for us and tell us that, as we saw the next week, no one went home, making for a top four of the season. That, naturally, meant we were going to see a Lip Sync for the Crown tournament. What we saw shocked, delighted, and horrified — sometimes all at once.

 

Of course, not all of that made it to your TV screens. Here are my recollections of what went on during the taping that you didn’t get to see.

 

Interview portions went long

 

Did you enjoy the quick-and-crisp interview segments with the final four? I hope so, because we sat through interminable filming for them. The interview segments were easily the longest filming stretch of the episode, and drained the audience of a lot of energy ahead of the lip syncs. I get why Ru and the show like them: they leave more time for the non-top four queens during the reunion, because these interviews serve as reunion-style chats. But they went on forever, and revealed little new or interesting information.

 

They might’ve been better if most of the queens weren’t pretty bad at being interviewed. Asia O’Hara knocked her segment out of the park, but Kameron Michaels was low-energy and bizarrely self-effacing. Eureka was funny, but was also subjected to a new series of questions about her sick mother, with answers that much resembled what we heard about her mother all season. I lost my father two years ago; I have great empathy for anyone with a sick or dying parent. I wish the show weren’t so willing to repeatedly exploit queens’ traumas, especially when there’s actual elements of the show that involve drag to get to.

 

The real mess of this portion, however, was Aquaria. She was awkward and uncomfortable throughout the questioning. It revealed her age and immaturity in a way her drag rarely does. All of this is to say: Drag Race, leave the Q&As to the press. We want to see a damn show.

 

Aquaria vs. Eureka inspired an audience shouting match

 

If I may be so bold as to offer a hot take: While I think Eureka did her reveals well during Janet Jackson’s “If,” there wasn’t much to her actual lip sync. It was just some kicks. Aquaria arguably did too much, but I admire that she was actually performing. Reveals are not a performance, especially when they are disconnected from the song itself.

 

That said, I understand why Eureka went reveal-heavy, because the live audience lost their shit over them. Every one increased the audience’s enthusiasm, from hair to dress to body suit. Even as Aquaria got in front of Eureka, Eureka dominated the space. When it was all over, half the audience chanted Eureka’s name in unison. This didn’t sit well with the other half of the audience, who then led a chant of Aquaria’s name. It may have been unprecedented, but Ru’s double save made the most sense in the moment, based on audience reaction.

 

The double shantay certainly seemed impromptu

 

When reports of the finale first hit the Drag Race spoiler subreddit, there was speculation that the three-way lip sync was planned, because the song — “Bang Bang,” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj — had three artists.

 

We’ll never truly know how planned it was, but it certainly seemed like an of-the-moment call. Ru kind of botched his delivery of the news when he first gave it: He quickly said, “Eureka, Aquaria, shantay you both stay,” practically spitting the words out. They actually had to reshoot it with new words on Ru’s teleprompter. Throughout the rest of the show, teleprompter-preloaded phrases had to be changed on the fly, and queens had to be instructed on where to stand for the three-person lip sync. If it was pre-planned, the production team did a great job pretending like it wasn’t.

 

Part of Aquaria’s crowning had to be redone

 

Speaking of things that needed to be reshot involving Aquaria: Her crowning was a mess, with Ru forgetting to deliver several phrases, and the music was turned up far too loud. One part had to be filmed after the other two crownings just to ensure coverage.

 

(Speaking of the other crownings: Eureka’s was incredibly emotional, and Kam clearly knew she would never win. But she was a good sport.)

 

A fourth lip sync battle happened

 

Because the stage has to be clear of cameras for the lip syncers, RuPaul records his close-up reactions to the lip syncs separately. But he needs something to react to, of course. Enter two PAs, who did their own lip sync to Janet Jackson’s “Nasty.” One even had a full reveal to a rainbow jumpsuit underneath his clothes! Honestly, other than Aquaria’s “Bang Bang,” it was probably the best lip sync of the finale.

 

The butterflies

 

All right, I’m not dumb. I know what you wanna know. What happened with Asia O’Hara’s butterflies during her lip sync to “Nasty”?

 

The truth is, we in the crowd couldn’t really tell what was happening with the butterflies at first. The prevailing feeling was one of confusion. Asia had spent most of the lip sync after flipping her breast pieces in the air crouched on the ground, fiddling with something on her fingers. It was perplexing above all else.

 

Then we saw a couple of live butterflies flying around the theater, and it all clicked. Then we saw the cleaning crew come out to sweep away all the butterfly corpses from the stage. And then we realized that fiddling was Asia trying to get some of the surviving-but-weak butterflies to fly. This as Kameron was doing flips and splits around the stage. Onto the butterflies.

 

There’s no sugarcoating it, even for a queen I like as much as Asia: Using live butterflies as a reveal was an absurd idea, and showed a remarkable lack of forethought. Did she really think the butterflies would survive the heat of the stage lights? What was her plan for after the lip sync? They’re still in a closed theater!

Worst of all, her choice deprived us of the Aquaria vs. Asia battle we deserved. Aquaria may have won, but she did so against fairly weak competition in a chaotic three-way lip sync. The finale, just like the butterflies, never quite took flight.

Democratic Party Launches Voting Rights Toolkit for LGBTQ People Ahead of 2018 Midterms

The Democratic National Committee is launching a toolkit for LGBTQ voters ahead of the 2018 primaries to ensure their voices are heard at the ballot box in November.

The LGBTQ Voting Rights Toolkit is designed to help address the unique challenges that queer and transgender people face when voting in local and national elections. Chief among those issues are voter ID laws making it more difficult for trans individuals to register. Should their gender presentation not match their voter ID or the name on their voter registration not be updated, transgender voters could be turned away at the polls.

Thirty-four states have some form of voter ID laws on the books, and half of those states require voters to present an ID card with a photo.

These policies are a major barrier to entry for a majority of transgender and non-binary individuals. According to the Human Rights Campaign, just 21 percent of trans people have all their documentation updated. Another survey found that 40 percent of respondents reported being harassed in the past when presenting an ID.

For trans people who live in the 17 states that do allow voters to present non-photo identification, the LGBTQ Voting Rights Toolkit states that “a document that proves a voter’s name and residency, such as a bank statement or utility bill” will suffice. In other cases, the Democratic National Committee advises trans and nonbinary voters to “check [their] state laws to see what alternative IDs you can use.”

The toolkit also advises LGBTQ voters on what to do in instances where they experience harassment from poll workers or are currently homeless, as queer and trans people are disproportionately likely to lack the stable address necessary to register for voting in a majority of states.

DNC Chair Tom Perez claimed in a statement provided to INTO that having this information will be critical for LGBTQ voters in a pivotal midterm election.

“The DNC’s LGBTQ Voting Rights Toolkit gives someone the resources they need to make sure they aren’t turned away at the polls because of who they are or who they love,” Perez said. “Too much is at stake this November, especially for the LGBTQ community, for any voter to stay home.”

In addition to being posted online, the toolkit will be distributed at Pride events across the United States. Field organizers with the DNC will also make the guide available at LGBTQ-specific events throughout the year.

Lucas Acosta, director of LGBTQ media for the DNC, stressed the importance of ensuring safe access to voting among queer and trans people following widespread reports of voter intimidation during the 2017 special election between Doug Jones and notorious homophobe Roy Moore in Alabama. If LGBTQ voters fear they may be discriminated against in 2018, they may choose to stay home.

Acosta said the DNC will continue to do everything in its power to ensure LGBTQ people know their rights.

“We have seen Republicans suppress the fundamental right to vote across the country,” Acosta told INTO over the phone. “We know that when more people vote, that Democrats win.”

The 2018 midterms, though, will hold a special importance for LGBTQ voters during a presidency in which the community has found itself continually under attack. Since Donald Trump took office in 2017, Acosta said the president has repeatedly illustrated that his administration is “completely disinterested in helping our community, acknowledging our community, or including us on even basic things like websites.”

Just this week, the long-expected retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, a moderate responsible for authoring many of the Supreme Court’s most progressive pro-equality rulings, illustrated just how vulnerable LGBTQ people are during a contentious political moment.

Given that Trump is likely to fill Kennedy’s seat with an arch-conservative jurist in the vein of Neil Gorsuch, many are looking to the 2018 midterms as a referendum on the future of LGBTQ rights in America.

That’s why Acosta claimed it is critical for LGBTQ people to keep fighting back—by turning out to vote.

“Our rights are on the ballot, whether its a ballot initiative or a candidate themselves,” he said. “LGBTQ people need the resources—just like every voter does — to make sure that when they’re going out to the polls, their voice is heard because every vote matters.”

You can access the toolkit here and here.

Civility Is Not Queer

Queer people? We just came here to fight.

As you’ve probably seen, online discourse over the past few days has centered around the usefulness of politeness when dealing with people on the other side of the political spectrum. Even the Fab Five of Queer Eye are fighting about it.

The debate started over public space and a white person’s belief that they should be allowed in all public spaces. After the Red Hen, a small restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, refused service to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the internet lost its shit and decided that the only way forward in a hyper-polarized America was civility.

Let the Trump Team Eat in Peace,” the Washington Post editorial board declared. “Roll over and take it,” said your racist aunt. This month has not been an easy one for marginalized folks in America. We found out the Trump administration’s capacity for cruelty as it snatched children from their parents and locked them in cages. The Supreme Court is about to be up one religious zealot or homophobe.

But here’s the thing. That just ain’t gon’ work, boo. Telling marginalized people that their marginalization will cease if they mind their Ps and Qs is a strategy meant to perpetuate white supremacy, not thwart it. And for LGBTQ people, the question of whether or not we should lie down as our livelihood is put in danger has a pretty simple answer. Civility is not a queer value. And it is not a tactic that has ever gotten queer people an inch of liberation.

Queerness equals disruption. By our very nature, we de-center hegemonic ideas regarding compulsory heterosexuality, gender roles, and respectability. When we were young, we were told to suppress our queerness. With what we wore, the way we acted, the way we played, we bucked the traditional and were deemed dangerous. Queer people learn early on that when a person asks us to be civil, they’re really asking for invisibility.

It’s so easy to bulldoze what is invisible. It’s important to note that stealth is a crucial survival tactic for some queer individuals, but invisibility at the community level does not breed progress. The Stonewall Riots were not just a fight for a single bar or a single street. Symbolically, the ability to lock queer people away just for being queer meant that they were removed from public life — less visible. Many of those people at most risk for imprisonment — transgender people, queer street youth — used the riots as a way of making their bodies visible and their voices heard. Their incivility paved the way for our community to have a voice.  

During the AIDS crisis, ACT UP and other AIDS activist groups used interference tactics to serve as a reminder to the general public that there was a whole sect of society that was dealing with mass deaths. During a time when the president refused to say the letters “HIV” out loud, queer people and their allies used disruption as a tool to show that queer people mattered and that we refused to die quietly and allow the government and pharmaceutical companies to live in peace.

The problem with the civility debate is that it’s no longer a distinct line of queer people vs. non-queer people. Now, even in our own community, those with the most privilege — AKA those who have benefited most from queer activism in the past — often ask queer people of color and those still fighting to live to remain civil.

When Jennicet Gutierrez, a Latinx trans woman, interrupted the White House’s 2015 LGBT Pride reception to ask President Barack Obama about transgender women being held in ICE detention centers, people of privilege in the room shushed her and clapped to drown her out. People began to boo. How wrong the people in the room look in hindsight. Gutierrez was calling ICE out during a popular administration, before it became a popular activist rallying cry during the Trump era.

It’s often clear that white LGBTQ people wish LGBTQ people of color would “act right” and not be seen. White LGBTQ people booed the Columbus Four, black queer activists denouncing police brutality during the 2017 Columbus Pride festival . According to one of the activists arrested, white festival goers heckled and spit on her as the police dragged her away. White LGBTQ people continue to denounce the black and brown pride flag, which is meant as a radical symbol of inclusion for those in the community who are most marginalized. Black and brown people asking for space on the flag are met with a very familiar argument: you can be black and brown, but not *that* black and brown! Conform! Don’t make noise about racism! Love is love!

We need to look to our disruptors for clarity on this issue. Take The Vixen, the standout contestant from season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Her critics have pointed out time and time again how she lacks civility, while forgetting that during her entire run she was preaching about racism in the LGBTQ community and how the media treats Black people unfairly. Rather than discuss what she said, people have instead focused on her demeanor and her lack of “civility” in the face of dehumanizing racism. If only The Vixen had discussed her personhood with a smile, right? Unfortunately, discussing Black trauma and the role that white LGBTQ people often play in it can get messy.

The Vixen even had to call out RuPaul, once herself a disruptor, for telling The Vixen to stay silent.

“I think that sends a horrible message to people of color who want to be on the show, people of color who watch the show, that their only option is to be silent or to be persecuted,” The Vixen told INTO.

People who ask for civility will try to convince you that protesting, heckling and acts of radical visibility are a thing of the past, and that it is time to put on our big boy and girl pants and move on. The riots were tantrums. Now’s time for LGBTQ adulting. Serve Sarah her food! But that’s not true. Queer people have yet to achieve liberation and we won’t get any closer with niceties.

Images via Getty

A Guide to Trump’s Potential Supreme Court Nominees

With news breaking that 81-year-old Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy would retire at the end of July, a swift realization set in: Donald Trump would have the opportunity to appoint a second Supreme Court justice.

 

But who would he choose? For his first pick, Trump went with staunch conservative Neil Gorsuch. Only a year after Trump picked Gorsuch, he can return to his list of potentials and select someone else to serve on America’s highest court. GLAAD and INTO collaborated to bring you a list of Trump’s top potential picks — and what you can expect if they’re plucked from their current jobs to be appointed.

Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Barrett once signed onto a letter voicing her belief in “the meaning of human sexuality, the significance of sexual difference and the complementarity of men and women” and “on marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman.” She’s also explicitly stated that she believes that the Constitution does not guarantee privacy and has argued that a Catholic judge does not have to put the law above her personal faith. She also once gave a speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the most anti-LGBTQ legal organization in America.

Joan Larsen of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Larsen disagrees with the findings of Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court decision that overturned criminal sodomy laws in the United States. In a 2004 paper, she couched her resistance to the ruling as based on the court’s citing of international law. She called the ruling “remarkable for many reasons” and seemed to question the decision.

She also questioned why the Obama administration refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. While on the Michigan Supreme Court, she refused to hear an appeal of a case involving a custody dispute between lesbian co-parents who had been legally unable to marry for the duration of their relationship.  

Mike Lee of Utah, United States Senator

Mike Lee strongly opposes marriage equality and opposed repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He sponsored legislation allowing anti-LGBTQ people and organizations to deny goods and services to LGBTQ people without retaliation. As a senator, he reintroduced the so-called First Amendment Defense Act in the 2018 legislative session, yet another attempt to undermine marriage equality and provide a license to discriminate.

Lee has also appeared on far-right media to fearmonger on the threat marriage equality poses to churches and religious people.

William Pryor of Alabama, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Pryor filed an amicus brief urging the US Supreme Court to uphold the criminalization of consensual gay sex. In the brief, which he filed in his capacity as Attorney General of Texas, he and fellows argued that a ruling decriminalizing gay sex “must logically extend to activities like prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia.” He also reportedly decried Romer v. Evans, a holding which merely allowed LGBTQ individuals to seek protection from discrimination, as establishing “new rules for political correctness.”

Pryor cast a deciding vote against reviewing Florida’s discriminatory adoption statute and pushed for a “marriage protection act” in his 1998 legislative agenda (a full five years before any US State even had marriage equality). He also rescheduled a trip to Disney World because the original plans coincided with Gay Days at the park, calling it a “value judgement.”

Diane Sykes of Wisconsin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Sykes ruled that anti-gay groups can receive public funding even if they engage in discrimination. In statements to the conservative Federalist Society (where she is listed as an expert), she claimed the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s 2003 marriage equality ruling “essentially reformulated the definition of marriage.”

The Family Research Council, which is extremely anti-LGBTQ, described Sykes as “staunchly conservative.” Sykes has twice served as guest lecturer for the “Moral Foundations of Law” seminar, an annual event hosted by the anti-LGBTQ Witherspoon Institute (confounded by National Organization For Marriage founder and Federal Marriage Amendment author Robert George). According to court documents involving another anti-LGBTQ justice who attended the seminar, her 2015 speech focused on the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.

Timothy Tymkovich of Colorado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Tymkovich vigorously (but unsuccessfully) defended Amendment 2, a voter-approved initiative that prevented all cities, towns, and counties in Colorado from offering protected class status on the basis of sexual orientation, in front of the Colorado Supreme Court. He also wrote a law journal article in which he supported the right of landlords and employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation: “Eliminating the liberty of landlords and employers to take account of homosexuality send the unmistakable message that homosexual behavior, like race, is a characteristic which only an irrational bigot would consider. By restoring government neutrality of this difficult and divisive moral issue, Amendment 2 promotes freedom and diversity by allowing different groups in the community to hold, and act on, different views on this question.”

Don Willett of Texas, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Willett “jokingly” compared the Supreme Court marriage equality decision to “a constitutional right to marry bacon.” His sense of humor doesn’t stop there. He also mocked a trans teen athlete with the line, “Go away, A-Rod.” Willett served as point person for George W. Bush’s “faith-based initiatives” both in Texas, while Bush was governor, and nationally while Bush was president.

While on the Texas Supreme Court, he authored the dissent in a case in which a same-sex couple was granted a divorce. He has friends, too. Anti-LGBTQ activists like James Dobson and David Barton endorsed him in his 2012 judicial election.

Milo Yiannopoulos Talks About People ‘Gunning Down Journalists On Sight’ Two Days Before ‘Capital Gazette’ Shooting

At least five people were killed with multiple others injured in a shooting at the Capital-Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, MD, and the shooter has been taken into custody. People quickly started to point out that former Breitbart editor and right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos sent a text this week to an Observer reporter encouraging people to shoot journalists.

“I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” Yiannopoulos wrote. Apparently, this is Yiannopoulos’ standard reply when he is asked for a comment. In the Observer article on the subject, Davis Richardson pointed out that Will Sommer from The Daily Beast had also gotten a similar text.

After the shooting was reported, Yiannopoulos took to Twitter. Sorry, I meant Facebook — he was banned from Twitter for inciting trolls to harass Leslie Jones.

“You’re about to see a raft of news stories claiming that I am responsible for inspiring the deaths of journalists. The bodies are barely cold and left-wing journalists are already exploiting these deaths to score political points against me,” Yiannopoulos wrote in a post. “It’s disgusting. I regret nothing I said, though of course like any normal person I am saddened to hear of needless death.”

Yiannopoulos goes on to say that if it is uncovered that the shooter was motivated by his words, it would be the fault of the outlets who published his words, The Daily Beast and the Observer.

Finally, he writes: “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this shooter — just like the last one at YouTube — is another demented left-winger. Let’s hope it’s another transgender shooter, too, so the casualties are minimal.”

Not much is known about the suspect in custody aside from the fact that he is a white male and is believed to have used a shotgun, according to AP.

Liam Payne Has No Idea What Pride is, Apparently

In a puzzling interview with Evening Standard, Liam Payne spoke on Pride month and what makes him proud — and his answer was so tone-deaf, it’s embarrassing.

The former One Direction member is one of many celebrities taking part in Adidas’ Prouder campaign, whose goal is to help LGBTQ youth. So when the publication asked him what makes him proud, he seemed to have misunderstood the significance of “Pride,” its background, and what it actually means in relation to the LGBTQ community. Instead, he answered with what literally makes him proud.

“I think since I’ve had a little boy, everything changes in life,” he said of recently becoming a father. “I’m aiming more for him to be prouder of me, and already he’s making me a better man, which I think is incredible.”

His answer is mind-boggling; does the singer really not know the meaning of “Pride?” Or was he just so doltish that he thought that was fitting answer? Regardless, queer fans were quick to drag the 24-year-old on Twitter.

Many fans expressed their disappointment in Evening Standard for running the piece, especially because it only featured Payne and David Beckham on what makes them “proud,” rather than showcasing any, you know, queer people.

Others were frustrated by straight allies — while we’re always grateful for allies, it’s imperative that non-LGBTQ people use their privilege to speak on educated grounds. It’s their responsibility to inform themselves on issues that affect queer people every day, and the movements that are helping to push the positive narrative forward.

“I’m all for allies vocalising their support but understand what you’re supporting,” one user wrote. “It’s not about making your children proud of you. It’s about rights you will never understand. It’s about equality you have. Check your privilege @LiamPayne and please do some research on #Pride.”

“I’m all for straight allies,” another Twitter user insisted, adding, “I think you’re all fucking brilliant. But do I give a shit about why Liam Payne having a boy makes him proud or support Pride. Fuck No!”

Fellow British publication Metro UK pointed out that the rest of Liam’s quote slightly alleviated his original sentiment, but barely. Apparently, Payne said life would be much better if we “all came together a bit more,” elaborating, “if we all aimed for a better future, it would be easier.”

The singer has yet to comment on the backlash, but is set to ride the Adidas Prouder float in London’s upcoming Pride Parade. Snooze. Thanks for the unbearably generic and functionally ignorant statements on Pride, Liam. Do some research!