Jeopardy! Master Mattea Roach, Montana drag ban, Manitoba city saves queer books, Ontario councillor resigns over flag ban, RIP Tina Turner and all things ‘Barbie’ movie

6 queer and trans stories for your Friday

Hi queers! Phew, that was a long one–thank god it’s almost time to sashay into the weekend. But before you do, we’re here to help you on your mission to be an Informed Gay™. We’ve rounded up the five queer and trans news stories that you’ll definitely want to read before you get too deep into happy hour. 

1. Mattea Roach came second in the Jeopardy! Masters tournament
2. Montana went to new lengths to ban drag performances
3. A Manitoba school district came together to save queer books
4. Norwich, Ontario, councillor resigned after township banned non-government flags
5. Tina Turner passed away after a lifetime of queer allyship
6. The Barbie movie soundtrack was announced and a new trailer dropped (!!)

1. Mattea Roach came second in the Jeopardy! Masters tournament

Can I get a queer icon scooping second place in the ultimate game show faceoff for 800? That’s right, queer Torontonian Mattea Roach snagged the silver medal in the Jeopardy! Masters tournament, a first-of-its-kind competition that pitted the show’s six top winners against each other. The fact-based fight to the death also featured Amy Schneider, who holds the twin titles top-winning woman and top-winning trans contestant in the show’s history. 

Roach was the youngest player in the tournament, and they qualified by virtue of their 23-game winning streak in 2022. They were also distinguished by their notably snazzy outfits. 

During the semifinals, Roach opened up about their father’s recent death. “He’s a huge part of the reason why I’m here,” they told host Ken Jennings. “He and my mom instilled a love of geography in me; my dad taught me all about Turner Classic Movies and old music and all sorts of things.” They may not have snagged the crown, but they’re certainly taking home first place in our hearts. 

2. Montana went to new lengths to ban drag performances

This week, Montana became the most recent state to ban drag story hours—and its new legislation goes one step further than any state before it. The bill that Republican governor Greg Gianforte signed into law on Monday bans drag story hours at any publicly funded school or library, and prohibits “sexually oriented” performances both at those venues and anywhere where children are present. 

It appears to be the first drag ban that includes drag story hours even when there is no content that could be perceived as sexual. Recent bans passed in Florida and Tennessee specify that drag performances are only prohibited when they contain material that is “sexual in nature.” Those laws still unfairly target drag performers and trans people for just trying to read to kids or, well, exist, but in the case of Montana, no such requirement is in place—drag story time is banned full stop. 

Thankfully, it’s likely that the law will face legal challenges, with one law firm already announcing their intentions

3. A Manitoba school district came together to save queer books

This week, hundreds of people crowded into a gym at a Manitoba high school—and not to watch a game. In Brandon, Manitoba, the Brandon School District was considering a proposal to review the books available at its libraries, including any books that caused kids to “question whether they are in the wrong body.” Those in favour of banning certain books singled out Being Jazz, by trans author Jazz Jennings, as well as books that deal with puberty and sex. 

But the broader community in Brandon was not having it—the school board received upward of 280 emails opposing the motion, and hundreds of people showed up for a marathon meeting where a decision was made. Cheers erupted from the crowd when the board rejected the proposal (vetoing anti-LGBTQ2S+ motions is our sport!). 

During the meeting, at least one trans student and one parent of a trans student spoke, expressing how important it is for schools to be a safe space for LGBTQ2S+ youth and how essential access to information about gender and sexuality is for their mental health. 

4. Councillor in Norwich, Ontario, resigned after township banned non-government flags

A councillor in Norwich, Ontario, has resigned in the wake of the enacting of a controversial bylaw forbidding the flying of non-government flags—which includes Pride flags—on municipal properties. 

Alisha Stubbs, who represented Ward 2 on the township’s council, announced her resignation Tuesday night. “I refuse to participate in this any longer, to the dog whistles and blatant discrimination, and to the hypocrisy of decisions made for peace while many citizens feel fear,” she said, per Global News

The debate over the bylaw has drawn heated debate in the community, leading to the president of a Pride committee filing a human rights complaint over the bylaw last month. The committee president, Tami Murray, has filed another complaint in the wake of the bylaw’s enacting. 

Stubbs expressed disappointment in the actions of her former colleagues, and in her resignation encouraged them to “do better”: “When you hear of people in our community that feel unsafe, believe them. Just like you always believe the people who say that the roads are a mess,” she added. “Be the helpers. Use your power in these positions to instill change.”

5. Tina Turner passed away after a lifetime of queer allyship

Yesterday, we all got the sad news that the queen of rock ’n’ roll had passed away. Tina Turner, famous for songs like “Proud Mary” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It” died at age 83 after a long illness. Now, folks are looking back on her life and her long history of allyship for the LGBTQ2S+ community. 

Turner headlined the opening ceremony for the first-ever Gay Games, a queer sports competition, in 1982—at that point, only one state in the U.S had banned discrimination against queer people (looking at you Wisconsin). Then, in 2000, she told reportedly told the Advocate that she thought gay marriage was a “wonderful thing.” It would be another 15 years until the U.S. federal government caught up to her thinking. 

It’s no surprise then that the queer community has gone into mourning, with drag performers like Tina Burner and Peppermint posting tributes to the fallen diva. We’ll definitely be pouring one out for the iconic singer this weekend.

6. The Barbie soundtrack was announced and a new trailer dropped (!!)

Well, the Barbie movie dropped another plastic-fantastic announcement on us—yesterday, the film confirmed that it would be producing Barbie the Album via a photo of lead Barbie Margot Robbie reading the latest edition of Barbie News. Iconic. 

While we knew that Dua Lipa was going to be releasing a song for the movie, “Dance the Night,” we did not know how many other massive names were going to be featured on this album. A short list includes: Ava Max, Charlie XCX, HAIM, Ice Spice, Lizzo and Nicki Minaj. And also … Ryan Gosling, who’s playing our central Ken doll, apparently has his own single? Colour us interested. 

We also got to feast our eyes on a new trailer—which reveals that in Barbie Land, all is not what it seems:

In other Barbie-related news, trans actor Hari Nef revealed that she’s created a distinctly queer backstory for her character. She told Vogue that she imagines her Barbie as owned by a “doll collector.” “[He is] a gay man in his 50s who lives in a rent-controlled apartment in the West Village,” she said. Keep rolling out the queer Barbie lore! We’re here for it.

🌈Bonus good news (because we need it)🌈

“She said OUI!”

Great news for the gay sports fans out there! Marie-Philip Poulin, captain of Canada’s women’s national ice hockey team, and her partner and teammate (oh my god, they were teammates) Laura Stacey announced their engagement Friday morning! Love wins!

Maddy Mahoney (she/her) is a journalist and writer based in Toronto. You can find her work at CBC Arts, Maisonneuve, Toronto Life, Loose Lips Magazine and others. She lives in Toronto and speaks English.

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