Dylan Mulvaney talks backlash, Florida Republican’s trans ‘demon,’ non-profit helping trans people flee U.S., Olympians and lawmakers stand up for trans student athletes and a Brittney Griner memoir

5 queer and trans stories we’re watching: April 12

It’s the middle of the week—and whether you’re stuck at work, or already on your way out the door, here are the five biggest stories in LGBTQ2S+ news today. We’ve got the latest on how Dylan Mulvaney sees the transphobia she’s faced, a bizarre anti-trans rant from a Florida Republican, a non-profit helping trans people escape the U.S., lawmakers and Olympians supporting trans student athletes and details on Brittney Griner’s upcoming memoir. 

1. “I’m an easy target”: Dylan Mulvaney opens up about anti-trans backlash
2. Florida Republican calls trans people “demons”
3. Non-profit helping trans people flee the U.S.
4. Olympians and lawmakers write open letters to protect trans student athletes
5. Brittney Griner is writing a memoir

1. “I’m an easy target”: Dylan Mulvaney opens up about transphobic backlash

Trans TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney went on the Onward with Rosie O’Donnell podcast to talk about the transphobia she’s faced since she partnered with Bud Light and Nike as a brand ambassador.

“The reason that I think I am so … I’m an easy target is because I’m so new to this,” Mulvaney said. “I think going after a trans woman that’s been doing this for like 20 years is a lot more difficult. I think maybe they think that there’s some sort of chance with me … but what is their goal?

“I’m not worried about the people talking about me on their podcasts; I’m worried about their listeners,” she added. “And I also think that, it’s just a heavy time. And it’s time to step up, for sure.”

2. Florida Republican calls trans people “demons”

During a Monday hearing about a bill that would criminalize using a bathroom that doesn’t match a person’s gender assigned at birth, Republican Rep. Webster Barnaby went on an anti-trans rant, calling trans people “demons” and “mutants.”


“I’m looking at society today and it’s like I’m watching an X-Men movie … it’s like we have mutants living among us on planet Earth,” Barnaby said. “I’m not afraid to address the dysphoria or the dysfunction. The Lord rebuke you, Satan, and all of your demons and all of your imps will come and parade before us. That’s right—I called you demons and imps who come and parade before us and pretend that you are part of this world.”

Later in the hearing, he apologized for his comments, saying, “I would like to apologize to the trans community for referring to you as demons.” Equality Florida decried the comments, and pointed out that none of his colleagues had stopped him from making them.

3. Non-profit helps trans people flee the U.S.

As more than 450 anti-LGBTQ2S+ bills have been introduced throughout the country, the newly formed non-profit TRANSport is helping trans people flee the United States and find a better life abroad in more accepting places. 

Since it was launched two weeks ago, the organization has received 30 applications for assistance, which would include obtaining valid IDs and passports, changing their legal name, getting a medical diagnosis and shipping medications to other countries. Founder Rynn Axerial Willgohs told The Advocate that most of the applications had come from young people. 

“The demographic is typically people in their twenties, which is really surprising because they were initially the ones that were like, ‘Oh, we need to stay and fight, we need to do this, we need to do that,’” Willgohs said. 

Still, experts warned that seeking asylum in Europe may be challenging for trans people, since Americans can move from red states to blue states—which have fewer transphobic laws—to escape persecution, rather than move to another country entirely. 

4. Lawmakers and Olympians stand up for trans student athletes in open letter

Following a proposed change in Title IX that would allow schools to develop policies that would bar trans athletes in the name of “fairness,” a group of lawmakers and a group of pro athletes have each written open letters supporting trans student athletes. 

The first letter was sent Tuesday, and was from 14 trans and non-binary lawmakers. Zooey Zephyr, Montana’s first trans representative, shared it on Twitter. 

“While we understand the administration may have been attempting to provide legal protections & clarity, in actuality these proposed rule changes will simply provide those who seek to deny us our rights a roadmap for how to do so,” the letter reads. “To put it plainly, there is no such thing as an acceptable ‘compromise’ that limits transgender Americans’ access to equal rights.”

The second letter was signed by over 40 Olympic and Paralympic athletes, including soccer star Megan Rapinoe, and trans runners Chris Mosier and CeCé Telfer. This letter opposes the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, which would ban trans girls from playing sports, the only exception being if it could be guaranteed that the trans athlete wouldn’t be “depriving” a cis one of the opportunity to play. 

“Denying children access to a place where they can gain significant mental and physical health benefits, and learn lifelong lessons that come from being part of a team and working hard towards your goals does not protect women in sports,” the letter reads.

5. Brittney Griner is releasing a memoir

Just a few short months after her release, basketball star Brittney Griner is ready to talk about her “unfathomable” time being incarcerated in Russia, and her memoir is coming out in Spring 2024. The two-time Olympic medalist was arrested last year in Moscow after the Russian Federal Customs Service said that it found hashish oil in her luggage.

“That day (in February) was the beginning of an unfathomable period in my life which only now am I ready to share,” Griner said in a statement released Tuesday from publisher Alfred A. Knopf . “After an incredibly challenging 10 months in detainment, I am grateful to have been rescued and to be home. Readers will hear my story and understand why I’m so thankful for the outpouring of support from people across the world.”

Knopf said that the book will describe Griner’s “stark and surreal time living in a foreign prison and the terrifying aspects of day-to-day life in a women’s penal colony.”

Jackie Richardson is a freelance writer based in Western New York. She has worked at The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, and The Sophian.

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