Over 1,200 Anti-LGBTQ Hate Crimes Were Reported During First Year of Trump’s Presidency

Over 1,200 anti-LGBTQ hate crimes were reported during the first year of Trump’s presidency, according to new data from the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Released Tuesday, the FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) report claimed there were 1,130 bias attacks on the basis of sexual orientation in 2017, a five percent increase from a year earlier. In addition, another 119 attacks—whether property crimes or assaults on someone’s person—were motivated by the victim’s gender identity.

Despite a record number of anti-trans murders, the number of hate crimes related to gender identity in 2017 actually represents a slim four percent decrease from the year prior. There were 124 attacks targeting transgender people in 2016.

The increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes overall follows larger surges in violence against marginalized communities.

Of the 7,106 single-incident bias attacks recorded in 2017, the largest percentage—or 59.6 percent—were motivated by the victim’s ethnicity. The injured party in more than half of those incidents was black.

Likewise, the lion’s share of hate crimes on the basis of religious faith targeted people of the Jewish faith. In 2017, nearly six in 10 religiously motivated bias attacks—or 58.1 percent—involved a Jewish person. That figure amounted to more than 1,600 incidents in total.

While 18.6 percent of hate crimes related to religion targeted Muslims, that represents a slight decline from 2016.

Matthew G. Whitaker, the acting attorney general, called the FBI report a “call to action.” Whitaker, who was recently tapped by President Trump to replace outgoing Jeff Sessions, claimed he was “particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes” following an October shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

“The American people can be assured that this Department has already taken significant and aggressive actions against these crimes and that we will vigorously and effectively defend their rights,” he said in a statement.

But it remains to be seen whether Whitaker will take appropriate action to address the increase in crimes against LGBTQ Americans under Trump.

When Whitaker was announced as Sessions’ stand-in at the DOJ, critics noted concern about his history of anti-gay remarks. The former Iowa district attorney has referred to marriage as a union “between one man and one woman” and predicted that former president Obama’s LGBTQ rights legacy would leave an “unbelievable, long-term negative impact” on the United States.

As the Anti-Defamation League claimed, responding to attacks on LGBTQ communities around the country will take significant action at every level. After Tuesday’s report was released, it noted that 91 metropolitan areas with populations over 100,000 people didn’t submit hate crime data at all.

Its CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, concluded that “more must be done to address the divisive climate of hate in America.”

“That begins with leaders from all walks of life and from all sectors of society forcefully condemning anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate whenever it occurs,” Greenblatt said in a press release.

As INTO has previously noted, the White House has yet to condemn the wave of attacks on LGBTQ centers across the country. Since Trump was elected in Nov. 2016, queer resource centers in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Wisconsin have been vandalized or shot up.

Meanwhile, a volunteer at Washington, D.C.’s Casa Ruby was physically assaulted.

Critics of the POTUS have pointed to Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ policies as a contributing factor to the increase in violence and property crimes since his surprise win. Many perpetrators of hate crimes over the past two years have mentioned the president’s name during the attack.

Leikeli47 Brings It To You Every Ball

We caught up with Leikeli47, the Brooklyn-bred rapper, ahead of her live performance at Red Bull Presents: ATL Is Burning, a vogue ball thrown by Red Bull, Morph ATL, and Southern Fried Queer Pride.

Having just released the second bundle of songs from her upcoming album Acrylic, the rapper shared her intentions behind the Design bundle, advice and praise for her queer fans, and thoughts on the power of anonymity.

What is the power behind the mask?

It’s to keep the focus on the art, you know? I’m just so proud of myself and I say that humbly, as humble as I know how to say it, because I really set out to be heard first. I really set out to lead with my music, which is kind of difficult for some people. The mask has helps me to push my narrative first versus what I look like or anything like that.

Often, when people ask about my mask, my first response is what mask, you know what I’m saying? Because it’s part of me. It’s like a second skin and it’s my superhero cape and it gives me power to be free. And it’s helped me — it’s been therapeutic in a sense, as well, but all of it is to completely keep the focus on the art. Listen, have fun, dance, get into all of these sounds, get into all of these colors before you get into anything else, you know?

You’re originally from New York. In Design, you reference ball culture. What does ball culture mean to you?

Um, it’s everything. You know, the ballroom scene is just one big, beautiful, creative expression, you know, and it’s like me. Ballroom is just, like, me. It’s free and I love it.

I often think that we owe the culture a lot more, you know what I mean, just from the ballroom scene, just the LGBTQ community as a whole. Just from the rhetoric, the style, just everything. So, it means everything. It means love, it means freedom, and I just love that it’s getting, or that’s it’s starting to get its proper due.

So it’s really meaningful to you. Is that why you chose to be a part of the ATL is Burning vogue ball tonight?

Yeah. I mean, you know, it’s something that I would do no matter what. Like of course I’m excited to participate, just to be performing and to see other performers but yes, I definitely decided to do this because it’s a fun festive event and culture wise it’s just extremely important. The ballroom is no different than any other scene, you know? I’m just excited that they welcome me with open arms as I do with everyone. It’s all about love, it’s all about fun, it’s all about dance, it’s all about freedom of expression. So you know yeah, anything that involves that, I’m on board.

Tell me about Acrylic.

If you smell acrylic, you know where you are. It’s an invite to where I’m from. It’s another way of getting people to come into my world and to know who I am. Acrylic is honestly just a bunch of stories that evolve around the ghetto, where I’m from.

I speak about our love. I speak about our campuses. I speak about everything that revolves around my culture and the places that I grew up and the places that I’m from. A lot of people from the areas I live, I’m sure they can listen to this and hear something that they relate to. For those who aren’t from where I’m from, consider this your invite into my world, you know? That’s pretty much how Acrylic was birthed. Acrylic is a part of a trilogy that I started some time ago that includes my debut album, Wash & Set. There’s a third installment coming sometime next year.

Is there any inspiration in Acrylic that draws from Kid Sister?

It’s crazy that you said that. Kid Sister is one of the innovators. She’s one of the ones that does not get the credit that she deserves. She’s definitely among those groundbreaking artists, you know, along the lines of Santigold, M.I.A. She’s always done things her way and you know, I’m glad that you even brought that up. That’s crazy. I didn’t even think Kid Sister because “Pro Nails”  yes, “Pro Nails.”

But Acrylic is definitely my story, you know. It was birthed directly from me. Again, it was just a creative way to invite people in to just get to know me more. As a new artist, I’m still like, people are still discovering me. there are some people who have been with me since day one but a lot of people are just now coming on board and I love it, so I just feel like as a new artist, I’m going to continuously just pump out those invites to get to know me. So once you get to know me, we can just keep going and keep the party going.

Shout out to Kid Sister, for sure. Let it be known that she is for sure an innovator and one of the best to ever do it.

What can we expect from the new album?

It’s definitely me expanding on my sound. I’ve grown musically, so I just wanted to explore that. A lot of Acrylic was done a long time ago, but once we got near to dropping again, I definitely went in and poked some holes and just really had a little more fun with updating my story or whatever.

You can expect a lot of fun, a lot of feelings, a lot of dancing, and that’s pretty much the goal of it. I want people to listen and have fun. Like feel it on a spiritual level, you know? Just have fun and hopefully be inspired — not even hopefully, please be inspired to do things and run through walls your way. That’s what Acrylic is about, it’s about drawing outside of the lines, painting outside of the lines, using your own colors, actually creating your own colors, and that’s what I did with this project and it’s something I continuously do. Grow and expand on the sound and just have fun.

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✨Nail Trappin✨

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L.A. is my home. I was born and raised there. You filmed “Girl Blunt” at Moonlight Rollerway here in LA.

I did, yeah, but there’s so many other fun skating rinks in LA. You got Northridge, you got World On Wheels, but Moonlight just came together for the shoot. It’s such an iconic place to shoot. They shot the N.W.A. movie there. A lot of different things, so I was happy they were so gracious enough to let us come up in there and handle our business and have some fun. We kind of had our own little party, our own little skating party as you can see. It was really fun. It was really, really fun. I like that skating rink but I really love World On Wheels.

You’re known for being sweet. Do you have any advice for other artists that are navigating the music industry?

Yeah. I mean, these are the things that I personally do. Listen, be kind, really appreciate the people that are around you that are going to push you, and make sure that you have some really positive people, real optimistic people around you. People that believe in the vision.

Have fun with your art, your paint, whatever, your basketball, your football, your book, your pen, whatever it is that you’re striving for. Whatever goal it is that you have in mind, do it with grace. Understand that there are steps in everything. Don’t be in a rush to go nowhere fast. That’s the key, right? Everybody wants it quick, but it’s nothing like just going at it balls to the wall. Run through that wall. Run through it by any means necessary.

That’s pretty much how I approach anything in life. I do it afraid, I live, I do it with no regrets, but I also do it with kindness. I think it’s extremely important to make sure you reach people on a human level. We’re all human beings, we’re here to love each other, and again, do it afraid and be kind. Do it afraid and be kind. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re too young, you’re too old, you’re too black, you’re too fat, you’re too queer, you’re too gay. So what. Do it. Fuck it because when you’re doing something dope, they will follow you. They’ll know your name.

What message do you have for your queer fans?

Grab at your tits and stand taller. What I mean is grab your titties and go, honey. Stand tall in your message. Don’t you ever let anyone make you feel inadequate. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel less than. It’s because of the community, I say this often, we owe so much to the LGBT community. It’s such a beautiful world, where it’s just nothing but love and positivity and we can learn so much from that and as an advocate, I’m always going to stand up for what’s right in the community, you know what I’m saying? I think that’s pretty much it for me.

From the bottom of my heart, I just want to thank the community so, so much. I don’t want to tear up but I just want to thank the community so, so much for opening, welcoming, and accepting me with open arms. Loving me, pushing my message forward, dancing to my music, telling a friend. I just want to say from the bottom of my heart I love you. I love you, I thank you, and I appreciate everything that you have done and that you continue to do for this little black girl. Thank you so, so much.

Images via Red Bull Content Pool

Malaysian Censors Reportedly Erase Freddie Mercury’s Bisexuality From ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Censors are reportedly erasing references to Freddie Mercury’s bisexuality for the Malaysian release of Bohemian Rhapsody.

The Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) told Malay Mail that three minutes of material was removed from the Queen biopic before its Nov. 8 debut. According to chairman Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz, 12 scenes were affected by the cuts. Four of those scenes depicted the frontman’s relationships with men and women.

These scenes included “men kissing each other, men rubbing each other, and a group of men in dresses partying in a mansion,” Zamberi claimed.

“Another scene removed was the post credit scene which stated Freddie Mercury and Jim Hutton lived a happy life because it showed that they were in a gay relationship,” the chief censor continued.

He declined to specify exactly which scenes were cut.

Zamberi accused the film of “promoting” homosexuality, which is illegal under Malaysian law. The country’s colonial-era sodomy ban punishes same-sex intercourse with up to 20 years in prison.

In addition, a 1994 law prohibits LGBTQ people from appearing on state-controlled media broadcasts.

But while Zamberi suggested the cuts were relatively modest and intended to preserve the integrity of the overall narrative, others have claimed the revisions were far more drastic. An earlier report in the same publication said that 24 minutes were sliced from Bohemian Rhapsody.

Whereas the film ran 134 minutes in its U.K. release, those changes would have resulted in a 110-minute runtime.

On Monday, the Malay Mail claimed a music video for the band’s 1984 hit “I Want To Break Free,” in which Mercury dresses in drag, was removed. The newspaper also said censors struck a pivotal moment where the iconic singer (played by Rami Malek) confesses to then-fiancee Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) that he’s bisexual.

Although Zamberi claimed the censorship board “only cut very few scenes per the guideline,” viewers who saw Bohemian Rhapsody in theaters alleged that straight-washing the film resulted in “huge plot holes.”

“I watched it in both Singapore & Malaysia and I realise you won’t fully understand if you watch it in Malaysia,” claimed Malay Vines.

Bohemian Rhapsody received an 18 rating in Malaysia, as opposed to a more permissive PG-13 for its U.S. release.

This isn’t the first time that films with LGBTQ characters have faced censorship in Malaysian cinemas. Beauty and the Beast was initially banned in the conservative South Asian country following news of the live-action remake’s “exclusively gay” moment, although censors later backtracked on the prohibition.

Bohemian Rhapsody has made over $100 million in the U.S. to date, and more than $26 million in the United Kingdom. Box office numbers are not yet available for its Malaysia release.

Image via 20th Century Fox

Should You Get a Non-Binary ID in the Age of Trump?

Only five years ago, Transgender Law Center Senior Staff Attorney Shawn Meerkamper was writing a law school paper about non-binary IDs.

At the time, Meerkamper considered the concept a fun if not empowering “thought experiment.” No state, as far as anyone knew, had adopted them. (Arkansas had quietly started in 2010, but it was only this year that move was made public).

“Whenever I have the opportunity, I love to pause and take a minute and reflect and try to get other people to pause and reflect with me,” Meerkamper told INTO. “That was only five years ago.”

That distant dream of non-binary IDs is a reality now in five states and Washington D.C. In addition to Arkansas, Oregon, California, Maine and Minnesota all offer (or will soon offer) identification with a gender marker “X.”

“It makes it clear that we exist — that gender nonconforming, non-binary, intersex, and trans people exist,” Zach Miller, a board member of Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition who has one such ID, told INTO.

But for many, that affirmation remains a mixed bag.

Non-binary gender markers are not yet widely available, leaving most who obtain them with incongruous documentation between state IDs, birth certificates and passports.

Finally, some are reluctant to obtain IDs that could out them as gender diverse, especially at a time when the Trump administration wants to legally erase transgender, non-binary, and intersex people.

Arli Christian, state policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality, has been fielding about 20 questions a week about  IDs. They say people ask if the federal government will rescind their documents, even if they’ve transitioned and changed their passport.

“I think it’s helpful that state governments are standing up and saying, we recognize other genders,” Christian told INTO. “State governments are passing policies that recognize that other genders exist and that they are not in the business of policing gender.”

Still, Christian and Meerkamper acknowledge there are several considerations for folks weighing non-binary IDs.

Any situation that requires IDs can become complicated by the new IDs, which are still not widely publicized.

While Oregon and D.C. have had their non-binary ID policies since June 2017, major airlines have failed to update their booking practices to accommodate them. The airline trade association Airlines for America has given their members a deadline of June 2019 to update their systems.

That doesn’t mean those with non-binary IDs can’t fly.

“It just means that the airlines are going to have to catch up,” Meerkamper said. “In the near-term, though, non-binary folks may want to prepare to have an alternative ID with a binary gender marker, like a passport, to ensure they can get where they need to go.”

TSA accepts “X” gender markers, and the Department of Homeland Security notes that the REAL ID Act doesn’t mandate gender markers on IDs at all.

Other situations where IDs come into play are worth thinking about, says Meerkamper.

“A bouncer at a bar might not know that this is a real thing now and might assume that this is fake,” they said. Meerkamper adds that complications can arise when registering for school or interacting with police.

But none of that, they said, should dissuade people from getting the documentation that reflects who they are.

“You’re talking for granted the complications that folks are already facing because their gendered ID doesn’t match their non-binary gender identity,” said Meerkamper. “That ID, in a lot of folks’ cases, is already causing issues for them in their day-to-day lives.”

Christian has had an “X” gender marker on their ID since June 2017 when Washington D.C. rolled them out. Overall, they said, barely anyone has noticed.

Non-binary passports could also be on the horizon.

In September, a federal judge ruled that the State Department must issue a non-binary passport to intersex Colorado resident Dana Zzyym. The ruling was the second in favor of Zzymm after the State Department refused to follow a 2016 order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to issue such a passport.

Many transgender people have expressed fears that their updated binary passports will be rescinded after the State Department replaced its long-standing webpage on “Gender Designation” for passports with “Sex Designation” in September. The Department has since walked back the website changes, and Christian says it is highly unlikely that trans people who have updated the gender markers on their passports will have them rescinded.

“The Department of State has come forward and said, ‘We are not going to change our gender marker policy,’” said Christian. “Additionally, retroactively rescinding decisions they have made in the past is rare and would be incredibly difficult for a federal agency to do.”

Christian acknowledges the precarious choice facing many in choosing a non-binary ID that might out them, especially at a time when trans rights and lives are under attack.

“You should have the designation on your ID that makes you feel the most comfortable, the most accurate, safest,” Christian advised.

Practically, the IDs will likely cause administrative confusion for some. But politically, experts agree, they are also powerful.

“I would encourage people to stand up in that power given to us by our state governments and use that to counter some of the hateful messages coming from the federal government,” said Christian.

“I don’t necessarily think that there’s safety in shadows,” echoed Meerkamper. “Of course, people make calculations about what is safe for them, but more visibility and not less is really important.”

Image via Getty

Washington, D.C. Schools Add A Third Gender Option

Families in the nation’s capital will soon be able to register students as non-binary on enrollment forms, as the city expands gender options beyond just female and male.

The new policy takes effect immediately for the 2018-2019 school year, and follows on the heels of the D.C. City Council’s passage of legislation this September that mandates non-binary licenses and ID’s be issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

While a flurry of states and cities around the nation have been adding non-binary “X” sex markers to ID cards, such an option is rare on school enrollment forms.

Oregon was the first to allow students — and staff — to identify as non-binary on official records, starting this September. 

In an email to INTO, Oregon Department of Education communications director Marc Siegal pointed to a memo released by the agency this June.

“For students, teachers, and staff to be successful, they must be safe in their school environment,” reads the memo. “This change in data collection practice is a step towards gender inclusivity and follows recent moves by the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Legislature to recognize and allow for a non-binary option for drivers licenses, identification cards and birth certificates.”

Oregon was also the first state to issue non-binary IDs, after Portlander Jamie Shupe became the first person in the U.S. to legally change gender to anything other than male or female in June 2016.

With D.C. and Oregon setting the pace, it appears likely that other school districts will follow. In Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New York City, and Washington, residents can choose to opt out of gender with an ‘X’ marker on either IDs or birth certificates.

In an email to INTO, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) interim chancellor Amanda Alexander emphasized the goal of inclusivity in D.C. schools.

“DCPS’ vision is that every student feels loved, challenged, and prepared to positively influence society and thrive in life,” said Alexander. “We value the whole child at DCPS and have worked diligently to ensure our schools are safe and inclusive for all students, staff, and families.  Whether through policies, programs, affinity groups, or our enrollment forms, DCPS is proud to be a leader in affirming, supporting, and welcoming LGBTQ students.”

A spokesperson for DCPS added that the agency worked with local LGBTQ advocates to improve the enrollment forms, and has not experienced any backlash or opposition in response to the new policy. The change to the school enrollment process is “part of a broader effort to ensure government forms are accessible and improve how we serve DC residents,” the spokesperson told INTO in an email.

In order to comply with the new non-binary policies, all state and local agencies have to integrate their systems to recognize the new identity documents. That means law enforcement, libraries, prisons, and any other state agencies that utilize driver’s licenses and ID’s to track or enroll people have to update their computer systems to either recognize the ‘X’ marker or to get rid of gender entirely.

And because non-binary ID’s are fully compliant with the Transportation Security Administration and the Real ID Act, they are recognized federally as well as locally. But integration is not without snags; recently, INTO discovered that major airlines had not updated their online forms to include third gender options beyond male and female.

But as more jurisdictions add non-binary ID options, it’s clear that school districts and other local and statewide agencies will have to update their rolls in order to comply with the law.

This story has been updated to include statements and additional information from District of Columbia Public Schools.

Image via Getty

Almost 180 Major Companies Have Now Condemned Trump’s Attacks on Trans People

Nearly 180 major U.S. companies have now spoken out against the Trump administration’s attempt to erase trans people in public life.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 178 businesses have signed onto a letter affirming their support of transgender rights in the face of attacks from the White House. When the statement was originally published on Nov. 1, the declaration was co-signed by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Uber, as well as 52 other corporations.

The 121 additional names include American Express, eBay, Etsy, Foursquare, Gamestop, Gap, Johnson & Johnson, Mastercard, Mozilla, Patreon, PayPal, Progressive Insurance, Spotify, Square, and TripAdvisor.

These companies are worth a reported $3.2 trillion in total.

In an open letter, they called for trans and intersex people “to be treated with the respect and dignity everyone deserves.”

“We oppose any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations,” the signatories wrote. “We also fundamentally oppose any policy or regulation that violates the privacy rights of those that identify as transgender or gender non-binary, or who are intersex.”

The statement was organized in response to a report in the New York Times that the Trump administration is weighing a memo that would limit the federal definition of gender to “biological sex” as defined at birth.

The memo is currently being drafted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and will reportedly be sent to the Justice Department (DOJ) by the end of 2018. If the DOJ signs off, it would then be sent to the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Education (DOE) for approval.

The memo will most directly impact the ability of trans students to be able to claim discrimination under Title IX, which prohibits sex-related bias in education programs which receive federal funding.

Should the memo be implemented, trans students would then have few remedies to file a complaint with the federal government if they are prevented from using the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity in schools or teachers refuse to call them by the correct name and pronouns.

While that would undoubtedly make the lives of transgender people harder, the signatories claimed the Trump administration does not have the ability to unilaterally erase the gains trans activists have made in recent decades.

“In the last two decades, dozens of federal courts have affirmed the rights and identities of transgender people,” the statement claimed. “Cognizant of growing medical and scientific consensus, courts have recognized that policies that force people into a binary gender definition determined by birth anatomy fail to reflect the complex realities of gender identity and human biology.”

Just days after that declaration was released, over 1,600 scientists—including nine Nobel Prize winners—validated those remarks. They claimed the Trump administration’s attacks on transgender people amount to little more than “pseudoscience.”

“This proposal is fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights, and basic dignity,” scientists said of the memo.

The White House has yet to respond publicly to growing criticism of its anti-trans policies by the business community, medical professionals, and human rights organizations. To date, 16 LGBTQ advocacy groups signed onto the HRC letter, including GLAAD, GLSEN, Lambda Legal, The National Center for Transgender Equality, The Transgender Law Center, and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF).

Out Leadership, which partnered with HRC in putting together the corporate statement, said the backlash sends a clear message to Trump: Discrimination doesn’t pay.

“We’re deeply inspired to see so many of the world’s leading companies speaking with a united voice in support and defense of transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex people,” said its founder and principal, Todd Sears, in a statement. “And we’re grateful to every company that’s signed on, including the Out Leadership members who stood up immediately to call for this statement.”

Jay Brown, the acting senior vice president for HRC’s programs, research, and training, called these statements of support for trans people a “crucially important moment” for the LGBTQ community.

“In one united voice, the business community is making clear they stand with the transgender community against the Trump-Pence administration’s unconscionable efforts to gut enforcement of existing civil rights protections,” Brown said in a statement. “No matter how hard the Trump-Pence administration continues to try, we will not be erased.”

It remains to be seen whether the letter will have any impact.

In 2016, more than 200 companies condemned the passage of a law in North Carolina preventing transgender people from using public bathrooms which correspond with their gender identity when entering schools and government buildings. Known as House Bill 2, that law was subsequently repealed and replaced.

The Associated Press estimated the backlash would have generated more than $3.76 billion in economic losses for North Carolina over the next 12 years if HB 2 hadn’t been struck down.

Many of the same companies that protested HB 2 two years ago were the same ones that signed onto the HRC letter.

You can read the full list of businesses below.

 

7R Media & Expeditions

Accenture

Adobe Systems Inc.

AdRoll, Inc., dba AdRoll Group

Airbnb

Allen & Overy

The Ally Coalition

Altria Group

Amalgamated Bank

Amazon

AMD

American Airlines

America Competes

American Express

Apple

Asana, Inc.

Atlassian

Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP)

Automattic

 

Bank of America

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade

Bento Box Communications

Best Buy Co. Inc.

Betterment

Bizzabo

BNP Paribas

BNY Mellon

BounceX

Brain+Trust Partners

Branch Metrics

Braze, Inc. (formerly Appboy)

 

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

Cardinal Health

Cargill

Chef Software

Cisco Systems Inc.

Citi

Civis Analytics

Clifford Chance

The Coca-Cola Company

Collective Health

Combs Advisory Services

Complete Marketing Systems

Converse, Inc.

Corning Incorporated

Corteva Agriscience™, the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont

Couchbase, Inc.

Cultivating Change Foundation

Cummins

 

Dallas Voice

Deloitte LLP

Deutsche Bank

Diageo

Dialog Group

Donatti Translation & Interpreting

Dropbox Inc.

The Dow Chemical Company

 

I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

eBay Inc.

Ecolab

Elettore

EnFocus Strategies

Etsy, Inc.

EY

 

Facebook

Fastly, Inc.

Fernandez & Company

Five North Chocolate

Foursquare

Freedom QA

 

GALA NTX

Gamestop

Gap Inc.

GitHub

Google

Grand Rounds, Inc

Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce

GSK

Gusto

 

Handshake

Headspace

Hilton Worldwide Inc.

Hogan Lovells

Hootsuite

HSBC

 

IBM Corporation

Intel Corporation

Intersection

Intuit Inc.

Iron Mountain

 

Johnson & Johnson

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

 

Kaiser Permanente

 

Lab Monkey Communications

Lansky Career Consultants

Levi Strauss & Co.

Lime

LinkedIn

Litmus Software, Inc.

Littler

Lola.com

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Lyft

 

Macmillan

Mango Digital, LLC

MapAnything, Inc

 

Marriott International

MassMutual

Mastercard

MediaMath

Megawatt Analytics, LLC

Mercer

MGM Resorts International

Microsoft Corp.

Minted

Mitosis Management

Modern Columbus Realty

Momentum Psychological Services, PLLC

Mozilla

 

Nakanishi Research & Consulting LLC

New Relic

NightSHIFT Communicator’s Network

Nike, Inc.

Nuna

 

Ogilvy

Omnicom Group

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)

Orrick

OutSmart Magazine

Owkin

 

Patreon

PayPal

Peloton

PepsiCo

Perkins & Will

Perkins Coie LLP

Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus

Pivotal

Progressive Insurance

 

Quantcast

 

Rathman Consulting & Coaching, Inc.

Replacements, Ltd.

Rhodes Perry Consulting, LLC

Ropes & Gray

Royal Bank of Canada

Rudner Law Offices

 

S&P Globa

Safe Connections

Salesforce

Sanofi US

Sheppard Mullin

Shift Technologies, Inc.

Shutterstock, Inc.

Signal Digital, Inc.

Sodexo Inc.

Splunk

Spotify

Sprout Social

Square

Squarespace, Inc.

State Street Corporation

Strava

Studio 5 – Learning + Development, LLC

SweetRush Inc

Swiss Re

 

Tableau

Texas Competes Action

TripActions

TripAdvisor

Twilio

TiVo Corporation

Trillium Asset Management

Twitter Inc.

 

Uber

 

Warby Parker

Witeck Communications, Inc.

Image via Getty

Will The Rainbow Wave Increase Bisexual Visibility?

Last Tuesday’s midterm election was a watershed moment for many LGBTQ+ people running for office. The winners from the so-called Rainbow Wave include Jared Polis of Colorado, the first gay man elected governor; Sharice Davids, Kansas’ first Native American and gay congressperson; and Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker, two trans women elected to New Hampshire’s House of Representatives. The midterm election was also favorable to bisexuals such as Katie Hill of California, Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon, and Harrie Farrow, who was elected Justice of the Peace for Carroll County, AR. And Kyrsten Sinema just eked out a win for Arizona’s open Senate seat.

Kate Brown

But will these successes increase bisexual visibility? Even in 2018, bisexual invisibility remains a huge problem among the LGBTQ population, despite bi+ people making up the majority of LGBTQ people. The results of bi invisibility are literally deadly; countless studies show that bi+ people have worse mental health than lesbians and gay men, and are at a high risk of suicide. Will the Rainbow Wave help, even if it’s just a little bit?

Farrow hopes so. “We need more out people to save the bi community from our health and mental health disparities,” she says. “But ironically, the best ways to get more out people is to have more out people. There has to be a sense that when you come out, you won’t be on your own being battered around by a lonely wind totally vulnerable to hate and discrimination; there has to be community and role models to embrace you when biphobes abandon and bully….Just as out and proud gay people shattered stereotypes, the same is desperately needed for bisexuals.”

Harrie Farrow

“These trailblazers took the risk of being out as bi on the campaign trail,” says 33-year-old Hillary, who is a member of a Facebook group for bi+ individuals. “In Katie Hill’s case, [she was] subjected to very ignorant lines of questioning and attacks since she’s married to a man. The more we raise them up and keep mentioning the B — not just LGBT — the more we force the conversation on what it means, who we are, and how many we are.”

“It is important for bi people to be represented in every corner of the society,” group member Nancy Marcus points out. “But it is particularly important for us to be represented by those who decide policy and write our laws. They are called ‘representatives’ for a reason: elected representatives are supposed to represent, and be representative of us. All of us.”

Indeed it is not just a lack of visibility and mental health access that plague the bi+ community, but also other forms of intersecting oppressions. Crystal Marie Fleming explains how racism and biphobia intersect for bi+ black people in a 2015 HuffPost article.

“Black bisexual women are often misunderstood, excluded or fetishized,” she writes. “Black bisexual men, on the other hand, are routinely vilified.”

Not only do black bisexuals have to face both racism and biphobia, Fleming says, but also sexism, transphobia, and fact that most LGBTQ spaces center around white cis gay people.

“We are routinely given the ‘side eye’ from multiple communities,” she writes, “misunderstood, implicitly or explicitly excluded or reduced to exotic sexual objects. We also experience poorer physical and mental health relative to other sexual minorities. It’s a lot to deal with.”

“One of the main issues on the platform I ran on was bringing the Latino community into local politics, decision making, and leadership of our county,” Farrow says. She says she has plans to meet with “a local Latino leader in the state” to have further discussions.

“[I’m] inviting him to talk to the Quorum Court, [which is the] county governing body that I’ll be serving on,” she says. “Another issue on my platform was making sure our county government is welcoming to all peoples in the community. Just being someone on the Quorum Court assuring that anyone that comes to a meeting will be welcomed and respected can make a huge difference. Likewise, being a voice for LGBTQ people, and those — like the Latino community — not represented there at all, will be impactful.”

Hopefully as Justice of the Peace, Farrow can promote equity and social justice for everyone in her community. Like so many progressives, her campaign was largely a reaction to the Trump presidency.

“Seeing how much trouble our country is in made me want to act on as many fronts as I could to affect change,” she says. “That ranges from getting arrested protesting in D.C. at the Kavanaugh hearing to running for local office.”

Progressive Democrats in Farrow’s area asked her to run for office and, despite living in a conservative county, her predecessor was a gay man, so her biphobia wasn’t a huge obstacle.

“Though my county and state are right-wing oriented,” she explains, “my town [Eureka Springs] is not.”

And because Eureka Springs is progressive and LGBTQ-friendly, Farrow had a huge community supporting her, which helped her defeat her anti-LGBTQ opponent, Ferguson Stewart. By being true to herself, she says, “I believe made it difficult for anyone who tried to throw stones.”

While the elections of Farrow and Hill and the re-election of Brown will help increase bi+ visibility, liberation for all bi+ people is a continual process. As BiNet USA president Lynnette McFadzen tells INTO, the Rainbow Wave “is creating an atmosphere of bravery for those who were in the closet before,” and that includes bi+ people.

However, there is still plenty of work left to be done when it comes to dismantling not only biphobia, but also racism, sexism, transphobia, ableism, and other intersecting forms of oppression many bi+ people face. Hopefully everyone who’s part of the Rainbow Wave will do their part to promote equity and social justice for all.

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Driverless Cars, Already a Win for Gay Rights, Will Now Increase Potential for Vehicular Sex

There’s a lot of things gays can do well: brunch, predict Best Supporting Actress, and erase bi and trans people from the queer community. But according to meme lore, driving is not one of them.

Just search Twitter for “gays can’t drive” and you’ll get a bevy of testimonies to corroborate.

But gays not being able to operate a motor vehicle may be a problem of the past. I’m talking, of course, about driverless cars. Now, the drama between Azealia Banks and Elon Musk may have you thinking that driverless cars are not exactly fast on their way to a freeway near you, but make no mistake: they’re coming. (And you will be too, winky face.)

According to a new study in the Annals of Tourism Research, driverless cars will lead to a boon in way people think about automotive vehicles. Cars will become restaurants, hotels and more. And, of course, that means that sex will be coming to a car near you.

According to Market Watch, 60 percent of Americans have already had sex in a car. Now, researchers predict, sex in a self-moving car will become more commonplace when they take over the roads by the 2040s.

Researchers also addressed the fact that a lot of sex work already happens in cars, as well. (Side note: legalize sex work.)

“It’s not impossible or that far-fetched to imagine the red light district on the move. Prostitution doesn’t need to be legal for this to happen. Plenty of illegal activities happen in cars,” said Scott Cohen, who led the study. “Where prostitution is legal, and regulations allow AVs to develop fast and be on roads quickly, we could see this come together rapidly. Europe is one of those places.”

Gays, rejoice: traveling and hosting will soon be a thing of the past. Because traveling and hosting will be the same damn thing.

Victoria’s Secret Has Always Been A Problem

Transphobic comments made by Ed Razek, Chief Marketing Officer of L Brands (parent company to Victoria’s Secret), went viral across social media platforms and queer media outlets this past week.

“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” Razek told Vogue. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.”

While Razek has since issued an extremely half-assed but predictable apology (“it was never about gender”) it hasn’t been successful in repelling the tidal wave of criticism against the lingerie and swimwear giant.

Interestingly, a boycott of the upcoming Victoria’s Secret 2018 Fashion Show was already in the works. In mid-October, model Robyn Lawley took to Instagram to critique the show’s lack of size diversity: “Victoria [sic] Secret have dominated the space for almost 30 years by telling women there is only one kind of body beautiful.” Lawley encouraged followers to sign a Change.org petition — enough is enough — and use #weareallangels to showcase their diverse beauty (each post results in one donated bra to homeless women and girls around the country).

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I have started an online petition -link in bio 👆 JOIN ME and lets help change the minds of Victoria’s Secret to be more diverse and inclusive of body shapes and sizes on their runways! Victoria Secret have dominated the space for almost 30 years by telling women there is only one kind of body beautiful. – you can read more in the link of my bio why it’s so important to encourage diversity for our future daughters sake. Until Victoria’s Secret commits to representing ALL women on stage, I am calling for a complete boycott of this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. It’s time Victoria’s Secret recognized the buying power and influence of women of ALL ages, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. The female gaze is powerful, and together, we can celebrate the beauty of our diversity. It’s about time Victoria’s Secret celebrated the customers that fuel its bottom line. Will you join me? 1 Sign the petition! 2 Encourage your friends not to tune in or attend the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show share a photo of yourself on Instagram, as you are (not airbrushed and beautiful), use the hashtag #weareallangels to share what makes you uniquely beautiful, please tag me so I can see (@robynlawley) and @ThirdLove For every person who shares a post with #weareallangels hashtag, ThirdLove will donate one bra to @isupportthegirls (a national non-profit that collects and distributes bras to homeless women and girls around the country !!!)

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But Victoria’s Secret has always been a problem, and when a story like this gains traction and saliency through its intersection with queer identity it’s important we take time to situate it within its broader history of offense.

Let’s begin by picking at a few loose threads: in late 2011 an investigation by Bloomberg Markets exposed that Victoria’s Secret was using child labor from Burkina Faso in its cotton production, under the false pretense that it was “fair trade” and organic. The fashion label maintained its innocence, claiming not to have known about the child labor issue (which included malnourishment and abuse) as production was managed by Fairtrade International.

Woven into its very fabric is also a long and exhausting history of racism and cultural appropriation. Karlie Kloss’ 2012 mishap of walking the show in a Native American Headdress didn’t stop VS from using tribal and Native American-inspired costumes for their 2017 Nomadic Adventures segment in Shanghai. Nor did the immense backlash from the 2012 Go East “Sexy Little Geisha” outfit (which VS consequently removed from their listing) prevent them from revisiting the commodification and appropriation of Asian cultures in their 2016 The Road Ahead Paris show. It seems as if Victoria’s Secret treats culture like it does its lingerie: easy enough to wear, but even easier to remove.

The 2017 Victoria’s Secret show in Shanghai marked the first time in its history that 50 percent of the models were women of color (55 models from 20 different countries). Yet not even a racially diverse cast could prevent a racist slur from being deployed at some point in the broadcasting.

Racial profiling at the Victoria’s Secret signature stores is also incredibly common. Earlier this year a woman returned to a VS store after an employee had accidentally left a sensor on a bra she had purchased. Upon explaining the situation to the manager — and presenting a receipt — she left her bags at the counter to continue shopping, until a police officer put her in handcuffs for shoplifting. “I think it was for the simple fact that I was black,” she said. In December 2016 a Black woman in Alabama was asked to leave a Victoria’s Secret store because another Black woman was allegedly being accused of shoplifting.

It’s almost incredible how racism and cultural exploitation has managed to pass through each point of Victoria’s Secret assembly line: from its child labor induced production to its artistic appropriations, the models’ representation, down to the store culture itself.

Within Razek’s ridiculous apology lies another important issue: Victoria’s Secret will always be about gender. The very core of its branding and approach to beauty is the creation and reproduction of anxiety within women, and fantasy within men. It taps into a cisgender heteronormative ideal because that’s where it centers its purchasing power and potential. Victoria’s Secret is in the business of making women feel inadequate and easing some of that inadequacy through consumerism. It’s objectification, just as it is a regurgitation of the patriarchy. It’s the consequence of having Ed Razek — a white cisgender male — at the helm. One could argue there’s an empowerment angle to Victoria’s Secret — the models might feel good walking it, you might feel good wearing it —  but I’d push back and ask whether empowerment is the ever same as power? Because who ultimately stands to benefit/profit most?

Many of our certified gay icons have contributed to the Victoria’s Secret fanfare: Lady Gaga in 2016, Ariana Grande in 2014, Harry Styles in 2017. This year: Halsey. But it’s important we don’t become distracted by shiny things and we understand the wider culture we’re perpetuating when we actively celebrate these moments. Beauty and fashion are largely celebrated by queer people because they’re vehicles for our individual expression and diversity. Ed Razek’s comments are hurtful and damning because we invest parts of our identities (whether financial, emotional) in these industries and our representation within them.

But I don’t think the answer lies in looking to reclaim Victoria’s Secret. Our queerness shouldn’t be defined, or limited by, our ability to change and influence institutions — there are far, far too many ugly seams to unpick. Instead, we should measure our queerness in how we set the old tapestries alight, and stitch new ones — brighter ones — in their place.

Victoria’s Secret is that it’s always been a problem. Maybe ours is that we never wanted an invite anyway.

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Massachusetts Affirmed My Humanity As Black Latinx Trans Teen

This victory still feels surreal. After months and months of sharing my story, connecting with people, having mindful conversations, educating families and friends, and knocking on strangers’ doors, we finally did it.

My name is Ashton Mota. I’m a 14-year-old high school freshman. I live in Lowell, Massachusetts and attend an elite private school that my mom, Carmen, fought like hell to get me into. I am a person of faith. I am both Black and Latinx (yes it is possible — look up “intersectionality”).

I love to play basketball, and listen to music (specifically J. Cole). I am on the speech and debate team, so don’t argue with me because it won’t end well for you. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and aspire to pursue a career in law. I also happen to be transgender. As you can see, being trans isn’t the only thing that defines me; it’s but one part of who I am.

However, upon learning that I’m trans I am often stripped of my humanity. I’m no longer viewed as the promise for the future; instead, I’m seen as an issue that needs to be handled. I’ve seen this dynamic play out before my eyes, as my mom has to go toe-to-toe with my school administrators while navigating a minefield of anti-blackness.

Let me be clear: Transgender people are not a burden, and we are not an issue or problem that needs to be handled. We are the salt of the earth and we make our communities better!

It’s not lost on me that as a public face of Yes of 3, I represent thousands of transgender youth of color who haven’t been as lucky as I have been to have a mother who not only affirms me, but is also willing to fight and advocate alongside me.

As a trans student of color, these struggles are real. My mother and I often have to deal with layers of compounded discrimination, sometimes even within the queer community. The stats don’t lie. Whether it’s homelessness, employment discrimination, incarceration, HIV infections, or violence, the brunt of the burden is carried by trans people of color, and we rarely make space for these voices.

To those youth of color who do not have the ability right now to take that step to be visible whether because of safety or cultural reasons, I SEE YOU! You are not alone and I will fight for your right to be seen and heard.

If there is one message I want to send today it is a message of love and kindness. We need to move away from the conversation centered on rights and recenter our conversations on humanity. Trans people are worthy of protection because I am human. We enrich our communities and make this world better. If you are a person of good faith, you believe in justice and equality for all people.

On behalf of all of us young transgender people in Massachusetts, I want to thank everyone who found it in their hearts to do the right thing and vote “Yes” on 3.

But I also know there is still a lot of work to be done, especially in local communities like Lawrence, where the majority voted No on 3. Transgender youth of color continue to carry the brunt of the burden.

To my peers, please know I am committed to continue to use my voice and make our presence known.

This win means that I have the right to exist, that I matter. It also means I’m able to go back to being a teenager and focus on my education and having fun with my friends. It was hard to focus and concentrate in school with so much uncertainty up in the air.

These results have convinced me that love and good is stronger than hate. The message is loud and clear: we the people of Massachusetts have no space for discrimination.