JoJo Siwa’s Candace Owens smackdown, Title IX disappointment, L.A. drag march, new crisis hotline for youth, EU vs. Hungary and a Canadian response to anti-drag protests

6 queer and trans stories we’re watching: April 10

It’s that rare time of year where some of the country is able to kick back and relax with a four-day weekend. For the rest of us, it’s business as usual this Monday. Whether you’ve got the time to read our Monday round-up for the first time in a while, or you’re looking for quick news hits in between meetings, we’ve got the five biggest stories in LGBTQ2S+ news from this weekend. 

Get ready for info on worrying new Title IX regulations in the States, the impassioned response to anti-queer bills in L.A., the White House’s new crisis hotline, one of the biggest lawsuits in EU legal history against Hungary’s anti-queer law, a new private member’s bill from NDP MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam to protect queer people and Candace Owens’s weird obsession with attacking JoJo Siwa. 

1. Candace Owens is weirdly obsessed with coming for JoJo Siwa … and she’s having none of it
2. New Title IX regulations facilitate transphobia in school sports
3. L.A. shows up to fight anti-trans and anti-drag bills
4. The White House announces a hotline where queer kids can access support
5. Fifteen EU governments are now signed on to a lawsuit against Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ+ law
6. NDP MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam announced a private member’s bill designed to protect LGBTQ2S+ communities

1. Candace Owens is weirdly obsessed with coming for JoJo Siwa … and she’s having none of it

Conservative commentator Candace Owens has long-standing beef with JoJo Siwa, which escalated this weekend when Owens posted a bizarre video saying she believes Siwa is “lying about being a lesbian for attention.” 

Owens, 33, voiced her opinions about Siwa, 19, on her Daily Wire podcast, of which she posted a six-minute excerpt on Twitter last week. The video shows Owens reacting to Siwa’s TikTok video where she shares her “gay awakening” to Demi Lovato’s hit “Cool for the Summer.” Owen stated, “It’s very clear to me that she did that video for attention. She got attention because it’s a great way to find a community of victims,” in reference to the short video where Siwa jokingly shared her coming-out realizations. 

Siwa reacted to the video three days after Owens posted it, with a simple but scathing quote tweet:

“I haven’t watched the video yet.… But if it has anything to do with your caption, respectfully back the fuck off.”

 

2. New Title IX regulations facilitate transphobia in school sports 

First implemented in 1972, Title IX regulations prohibit sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools and education programs. Title IX is meant to ensure that nobody in the United States can be excluded from participating in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. But a new update to the regulations from Biden’s Department of Education is drawing criticism from some.

The update is ostensibly intended to support trans rights, by prohibiting policies that “categorically” ban trans athletes from school sports teams, in response to the hundreds of anti-trans sports bans that have been introduced and passed in states across the U.S. But advocates say the update details ways in which schools can ban or limit trans athletes’ activities, while still remaining compliant with Title IX—a move that some have said feels like a “betrayal.”

The new regulations include ways in which schools can limit students’ participation on the basis of scholarship concerns and risk of injury, which journalist Erin Reed noted are common right-wing talking points. Perhaps, most concerningly, the regulations state that “invasive medical examinations” and medical testing, as well as required provision of gender markers on birth certificates are all permissible under the regulations. The examples given by the Department of Education read like a “road map to telling schools how to discriminate,” Reed said. 

Civil rights attorney Alejandra Caraballo noted that there are now more anti trans bills (450-plus) than there are trans athletes, and more pages (115) in the proposed Title IX rule than there are trans athletes.

3. Los Angeles shows up to fight anti-trans and anti-drag bills

Hundreds of queer folk and allies took to the streets of West Hollywood this weekend for Drag March LA, a protest against anti-trans and anti-drag bills across America. 

“This is not just a parade, this is not just a fun little moment to meet and gather with friends, this is our life,” said Drag Race star Kerri Colby at the march. “And it makes me feel so blessed to know that our life really does matter, and to see how many people are here gathered today.” 

The march saw representatives from non-profits, drag queens, faith groups and more, to voice an opposition to harmful legislation, such as Tennessee’s anti-drag law. L.A. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath was in attendance, and told attendees that she will fight for their voices.

“We will not stand silent,” she said. “We will not stand idly by.”

4. The White House announces a hotline where queer kids can access support

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration is proud to offer a new service during “these incredibly hard times for these trans kids,” in the form of a crisis hotline staffed by counsellors specially trained in LGBTQ2S+ issues. 

Jean-Pierre slammed the nearly 500 bills in 47 states already passed this year targeting trans people, noting that she was proud of students organizing against the policies, which she called “legislative bullying.” 

The hotline, which was formally announced at a press conference last Thursday, can be reached by calling 988, the National Crisis Hotline, and dialling “3” to speak to a trained counsellor. 

5. Fifteen EU governments are now signed on to a lawsuit against Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ+ law

French, German and Slovenian officials confirmed last Thursday that they had joined a European Union (EU) Commission lawsuit against Hungary pertaining to a controversial anti-LGBTQ+ law. The other states signed on to the suit are Greece, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Malta, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria and Finland.

The EU Commission first launched legal action against the law, known as the “Child Protection Act,” in July 2022. The law prohibits the distribution of content for minors that encourages “divergence from self-identify corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality.”

Hungarian justice minister Judit Varga previously stated, “We will not surrender” in reference to the EU lawsuit, and filed a counterclaim with the court. The EU contends that the bill violates EU single market laws as well as “human dignity, freedom of expression and information, the right to respect of private life, as well as the right to non-discrimination.” 

6. The Ontario NDP announces a private member’s bill designed to protect LGBTQ2S+ communities

The Ontario NDP has announced a new bill to protect queer performers in the province.

NDP MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam put forward the private member’s bill to designate 100-metre zones around show venues protecting drag performers from organized harassment. The Protecting 2SLGBTQI+ Communities Act would allow the attorney general to designate special “Community Safety Zones” for specified periods of time, wherein anti-LGBTQ2S+ harassment, intimidation or hate speech could receive a provincial fine of up to $25,000. 

Wong-Tam announced the bill alongside Marit Stiles, leader of the opposition, and drag performers Scarlett BoBo and Crystal Quartz at Queen’s Park last week

“The topic that brings us here is deadly serious,” Wong-Tam said at the press conference. “The rise of hate and violence facing the 2SLGBTQI+ communities, including the drag artists, happening across Ontario and right (across) the nation has been alarming.”

Wong-Tam has launched a petition calling on the legislative assembly to pass the bill.

Eve Cable is a reporter based at The Eastern Door in Kahnawà:ke. Her work has also been featured in Filter Magazine, The Rover, The Hoser, and more.

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