Oscars’ gender, indecency expunged, a big queer Tennessee benefit, beautiful Minnesota and welcome, Suzy Eddie Izzard

5 queer and trans news stories we’re following: March 10

That’s right queers, it’s the weekend! Rejoice! For all our drama gays, best wishes for the Oscars—may your gowns sparkle under the limelight. For everyone else, may your Saturday and Sunday stretch into eternity. But first, be sure to check out these five queer and trans stories we’re keeping an eye on:

1. Should the Oscars go gender-neutral? 
2. Canada to expunge convictions from anti-LGBTQ2S+ indecency laws
3. Massive benefit concert for LGBTQ2S+ rights in Tennessee
4. Minnesota becomes a sanctuary state
5. Hi, Suzy Eddie Izzard!

1. Should the Oscars go gender-neutral? 

As we prepare ourselves for the inevitable commotion that will come with the Academy Awards ceremony this weekend, a familiar debate has re-emerged: should major awarding bodies do away with gendered categories? While some, like the MTV Movie Awards, have ditched the traditional “actor” and “actress” categories, others, like the Oscars and Golden Globes, have held out. The gendered division leaves non-binary actors without a truly representative category, a situation that’s caused queer actors like Emma Corrin of The Crown to call for change

This year, at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, several actors gave their thoughts about the issue. Will Sharpe and Michael Imperioli of The White Lotus were all for it. Others, like Jamie Lee Curtis, were supportive while also expressing concern about gender-neutral categories lending themselves to male-dominated nominations. Unfortunately, this fear is not unfounded—nominations in categories that are not gendered, like the award for Best Director, tend to go overwhelmingly (if not completely) to men. 

With no word from the Oscars themselves, for now we’ll have to console ourselves with the epic Michelle Yeoh vs. Cate Blanchett showdown for best actress. 

2. Canada to expunge convictions from anti-LGBTQ2S+ indecency laws

Legislative change for the better? It’s not what we’ve come to expect, but always a pleasant surprise! On Tuesday, the Canadian government announced a criminal justice system reform that repeals historic “indecency” laws that targeted the LGBTQ2S+ community. This means that anyone convicted of being found “in a bawdy house” or putting on an “indecent performance” (sound familiar?) can have their criminal records expunged, free of charge. This could allow upward of 2,500 people to have their convictions wiped from their records, according to the Parole Board. 


Historically, these intentionally vague laws were, to no one’s surprise, used as excuses to raid bathhouses and nightclubs that were safe spaces for the queer community. Across Canada, the RCMP used this legislation to charge LGBTQ2S+ customers, employees and performers at venues that were deemed to allow “indecent” activity. Perhaps the most infamous instance of this law being weaponized against queer people was during Operation Soap in 1981, when the RCMP raided four bathhouses in downtown Toronto, leading to the arrest of more than 300 men. Good riddance! 

3. Massive benefit concert for LGBTQ2S+ rights in Tennessee

Tennessee is making a strong bid to be the most hellscape-y state in the U.S. (and honestly, the competition is steep). In the last couple weeks alone, the state has passed a drag ban, and seen major progress for a bill that would gut marriage equality. And, of course, there’s their ever-growing slate of anti-trans legislation

But queer musicians are ready to put up a fight. In direct response to the barrage of anti-LGBTQ2S+ bills in Tennessee, an impressive roster of queer performers and allies are holding a massive benefit concert. Love Rising Tennessee will feature Paramore’s Hayley Williams, Hozier, Sheryl Crow, Allison Russell and Brothers Osbourne, with proceeds going to LGBTQ2S+ advocacy organizations like the Tennessee Equality Project and inclusion tennessee

“LGBTQIA+ contributions and creativity are foundational to every genre of modern song and arts performance,” said Russell, in a statement. “I think it speaks volumes that so many in our community are feeling the same call to support, celebrate and uplift.”

4. Minnesota becomes a sanctuary state

Thinking of putting pen to paper in service of anti-trans laws? Not in Minnesota you’re not. On Wednesday, Minnesota governor Tim Walz signed an executive order that makes Minnesota a “safe state” for trans individuals, their families and their healthcare providers. The order bars the use of any state resources whatsoever toward enacting out-of-state anti-trans legislation, which could include police officers, jail cells and even ink on paper (werk!!).

The order also covers a few other crucial aspects of trans protection in the state: it mandates that health insurance companies cover gender-affirming care, tells state agencies to consider gender-affirming procedures like facial feminization surgery and hair removal as necessary aspects of care, and protects against discrimination in educational environments. 

Safe state orders and legislation, which has also been passed in California, come in direct response to the seven states (and, sadly, counting) that have passed bans on gender-affirming care. We know what club we’d rather be in. 

5. Hi, Suzy Eddie Izzard!

Welcome to the stage, Suzy Eddie Izzard! The British stand-up comedian, actress, politician and activist announced her new name this week on an episode of Matt Forde’s Political Party podcast, and people are obsessed.

“I’m Eddie,” Izzard said on the podcast. “There’s another name I’m going to add in as well, which is Suzy, which I wanted to be since I was 10. I’m going to be Suzy Eddie Izzard.” Izzard also expressed some fluidity over which of her names people use to refer to her. “That’s how I’m going to roll, so people can choose,” she said. “They can’t make a mistake, they can’t go wrong.”

One Izzard fan on Twitter wrote that Izzard’s announcement gave them “joy and hope for the future,” with another emphasizing that she’s proved “it’s never too late to be happy.” Thanks, Suzy Eddie Izzard, for reminding us that every day is a good day to embrace our true selves. 

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.

Keep Reading

Job discrimination against trans and non-binary people is alive and well

OPINION: A study reveals that we have a long way to go to reach workplace equality for trans and non-binary people

The new generation of gay Conservative sellouts

OPINION: Melissa Lantsman’s and Eric Duncan’s refusals to call out their party’s transphobia is a betrayal of the LGBTQ2S+ community

Over 300 anti-LGBTQ2S+ bills have been introduced this year. This doesn’t mean we should panic

OPINION: While it’s important to watch out for threats, not all threats are created equally. Some of these bills will die a natural death

Xtra’s top LGBTQ2S+ stories of the year

The best and brightest—even most bewildering—stories from a back catalogue brimming with insight