The LGBT South is a weekly email newsletter, compiling national, regional, and local news important to LGBT Southerners. Subscribe to get the latest edition to your inbox every Friday morning and keep up with what the Campaign for Southern Equality is up to!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Today, hatred, intolerance, and discrimination persist — and are sometimes even promoted — but by challenging unjust policies rooted in invidious discrimination, G.G. takes his place among other modern-day human rights leaders who strive to ensure that, one day, equality will prevail, and that the core dignity of every one of our brothers and sisters is respected by lawmakers and others who wield power over their lives.”
– Andre M. Davis, Senior U.S. Circuit Judge, in a moving statement on Gavin Grimm’s case
Here’s your breakdown of what’s happening this week in the #LGBTsouth:
PROPOSALS AND APPOINTMENTS
Following the passage of HB 142, the HB 2 “compromise repeal”, North Carolina Republicans are digging in their heels on anti-LGBTQ legislation. Just days later HB 142 became law, a Republican representative proposed another bathroom bill, this time revolving around trespassing laws. Now, four representatives have filed a bill attempting to reinstitute a ban on same-sex marriage that defies the 2015 SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality. The bill simply serves as a message of disrespect to the LGBT community, as it will not get a vote according to the Republican speaker of the state House.
In Texas, nearly a dozen religious refusal bills have been filed during the current legislative session. The bills cover a number of scenarios from child welfare services to the issuing of marriage licenses to providing child welfare and healthcare services. All of the proposed bills were filed by Republican representatives in the state, but a similar attempt to pass an onslaught of bills failed in 2015.
The number of anti-LGBTQ politicians in the Trump administration continues to grow with three new additions this week. Tennessee state Senator Mark Greene was nominated Friday to be the next Army Secretary. Green has made numerous anti-LGBTQ comments and criticized attempts to pass federal non-discrimination protections.
The second is James Renne, who was involved in a scandal during George W. Bush’s presidency where federal staffers were relocated or fired if they were suspected to be LGBTQ. Renee has been appointed to the “landing team” at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Finally, after a long series of Senate hearings and pushback from Democrats, Neil Gorsuch was appointed as the newest justice of the Supreme Court, filling the seat left open by Antonin Scalia’s death last year. Gorsuch has come under fire for his prior support of religious freedom policies and opposition to providing hormones or gender-appropriate housing for a transgender inmate. In 2009, Gorsuch signed onto an opinion stating that Title VII sex discrimination laws did not apply to trans individuals.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Steps are being taken lately to make the English language more inclusive, especially for trans and nonbinary people – the Associated Press, one of the biggest international news agencies, announced they would allow the singular “they” pronoun in their reporting and Merriam-Webster added “genderqueer”, “cisgender”, and “Mx.” (the gender-neutral form of Ms. or Mr.) to its dictionary. With stories on sexuality and gender identity on the rise, it’s important for anyone telling those stories to know how to do so correctly and respectfully. As this piece from the New York Times puts it, “The power of language cannot be overstated. It can legitimize or it can dismiss.”
Now, a new study from GLAAD has found that, at 20 percent, young people (age 18-34) are the most likely age group to identify as LGBT, but that they are also increasingly moving away from traditional labels for sexuality and gender identity. 12 percent of young people surveyed identified as transgender or gender-nonconforming, and more individuals identified as pansexual, asexual, agender, bigender, and gender fluid than in older populations.
And English isn’t the only language evolving. Spanish, which is a highly gendered language (think, amigas vs amigos), doesn’t leave much room for non-binary identities and erases women by defaulting to masculine words. Now, Spanish speakers are changing that. You may have seen the term “Latinx” – a gender-neutral solution for the gendered Latino/Latina – online and even here in this newsletter. If you’ve been confused about what this means, how to pronounce it, or why it’s important, check out this short primer video from mitú.
A new study from the Williams Institute revealed that a disproportionate number of youth in jail or prison are LGBTQ – especially lesbian and bisexual girls, who make up nearly 40 percent of the juvenile detention population.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has started a bi-weekly update on the activities of anti-LGBT hate groups throughout the country.
The Campaign for Southern Equality’s Executive Director Jasmine Beach-Ferrara spoke to WUNC radio about LGBTQ rights and the political climate in North Carolina.
New Mexico has become the 7th state to ban conversion therapy for minors.
Alana Semuels of The Atlantic writes in an in-depth piece about why economic mobility is so hard to achieve in the South.
A great long-read from The New Yorker profiles the legacy of Pauli Murray, lawyer and civil and women’s rights activist from Durham, North Carolina.
WHAT THE CAMPAIGN FOR SOUTHERN EQUALITY IS UP TO
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We are excited to host a series of FREE “Protect Yourself” Clinic that centers the trans experience.
Led by and for trans folks, these clinics will cover a range of safety issues including: trainings in self defense and pepper spray, writing a safety plan, and using safety apps on your phone. Free and confidential HIV testing and counseling will also be available.
A clinics is coming up tomorrow, April 8 in Montgomery, AL. Thanks to The Knights and Orchids Society for co-hosting!
Interested in joining the CSE team? We are currently accepting applications for the Tzedek Social Justice Fellowship focused on Operations and Engagement at The Campaign for Southern Equality. The Tzedek Social Justice Fellowship (TSJF) is a transformational experience for emerging social justice leaders that builds the capacity of organizations to effect change in Asheville and beyond. The deadline to apply is Saturday, April 15. Visit our website to learn more!