Michigan salon owner refuses trans people, Japan court rules in favour of trans bathroom rights and more

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

Happy Wednesday, queers! Read on for today’s top LGBTQ2S+ news stories—including the Michigan salon owner refusing service for trans people, a win for trans rights in Japan, an attempt at the world’s longest continuous drag show and more. 

1. Michigan salon owner refuses service to trans people
2. Trans teenager killed in South Carolina
3. Japan rules in favour of trans people’s bathroom rights
4. Trans Russians fear upcoming ban on gender-affirming surgery
5. College students changing schools because of state’s anti-LGBTQ2S+ policies

1. Michigan salon owner refuses service to trans people

Days after the Supreme Court ruled that a web designer could refuse her wedding-website services to same-sex couples, Michigan salon owner Christine Geiger took to Facebook to spew transphobic vitriol at prospective customers. “If a human identifies as anything other than a man/woman, please seek services at a local pet groomer,” she said. “You are not welcome at this salon. Period.” 

Geiger specifically targeted the “TQ+,” saying the “+” stood for pedophiles and echoing the right-wing conspiracy theory that queer people are groomers. Commenters lambasted Geiger, with one telling her to “turn off the TV, get off of YouTube and educate yourself.” Currently, Michigan state law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

2. Teenage trans man killed in South Carolina

Jacob Williamson, an 18-year-old trans man, was killed in Monroe, South Carolina, at the end of last month. Police have charged Joshua Newton, whom Williamson had met online, with first-degree murder. Williamson had recently moved out of his parents’ house and into the home of friend and coworker Promise Edwards, after coming out as trans and facing a lack of acceptance from family members. His body was found on July 4. 

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Williamson’s death is the 14th reported killing of a trans person in 2023—though the group emphasizes that these deaths often go unreported or misreported. Williamson had loved to sing and draw, and was loved by his coworkers at the local Waffle House where he worked. 

“This world was so cruel to Jacob his entire life. I find peace in knowing that in the last month and a half, he found peace,” Edwards told HRC. 

3. Japan rules in favour of trans woman’s access to bathrooms

The Japanese Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that it was “unacceptable” to restrict a trans woman’s use of bathrooms at her workplace. The case had revolved around a woman working at the economy ministry who sued after she had been told to use the women’s restrooms several floors away, rather than the ones closest to her.

 

The ruling comes after regional court rulings that called out queer people’s lack of legal rights and a law passed last month, with the goal of promoting greater understanding of the LGBTQ+ community—though it granted queer people no new protections. Currently, Japan is the only Group of Seven nation—which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., the U.S. and the EU—not to have legalized same-sex marriage.

4. Trans Russians fear possible ban on gender-affirming surgery

Trans people in Russia are “scared” and “desperate” after learning about draft legislation that would outlaw gender changes in official identification and gender-affirming care, including surgery and possibly—given the broad language of the bill—hormone therapy. The lower house of parliament gave initial backing of the bill, which will go on a second reading Thursday (bills in Russia require three readings before the president signs them into law). 

The bill comes a year after Putin expanded the restrictions on “LGBT Propaganda,” which in effect barred any queer advocacy. Nef Cellarius, the programme coordinator of the queer advocacy group Vykhod (“Coming Out”), told Reuters that requests for support nearly quadrupled since news of the bill broke.

“I’ve received many letters with phrases like, ‘I don’t want to live anymore,’ ‘I don’t know what to do,’” Cellarius told the outlet. “Trans people in Russia are scared and they are desperate.”

5. College students changing schools because of state’s anti-LGBTQ2S+ policies

Florida, among other states, could find that their anti-LGBTQ2S+ policies spurring a brain drain. Teen Vogue has found that some students were looking at changing colleges because of their state’s anti-queer policy. Danny, a pre-med student attending the public liberal arts school New College of Florida, told the outlet that they felt like they had to transfer out after Gov. Ron DeSantis’s “war on woke.” 

With this “war,” DeSantis staged what many students saw as a takeover of the New College of Florida, overhauling the Board of Trustees and pumping $34 million dollars into the school to transform it into a conservative school à la Hillsdale College. Schools other students featured in the article are transferring out of or deciding not to attend include Arizona State University, University of Central Florida and Florida State University.

“A lot of people I’m friends with are transferring too,” Danny told the outlet. “It became a common question to ask people in passing whether or not they’re transferring and even suggesting other good schools if people were interested.”

🌈Bonus good news (because we need it)🌈

A Portland, Oregon, Drag-a-Thon is trying to break the record for longest continuously running drag show this week! 

Hosted at the historic Darcelle XV Showplace, the show is a benefit for LGBTQ2S+ youth non-profit The Trevor Project, in response to the slate of anti-trans and anti-drag legislation. If all goes according to plan, the record should be broken this afternoon. Good luck, queens!

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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