Anti-queer Blue Jays player sparks outrage, Catholic school board rejects Pride flag, Hayley Kiyoko to headline Canada’s first queer music festival and Japanese court declares same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

4 queer and trans stories we’re following: May 30

Happy Tuesday! Whether your week is well underway, or you’re just heading back to work after a long weekend, we’ve got the queer and trans news you need to know—from Canada’s first queer music festival to the latest Pride flag controversies (this Pride Month is going to be a doozy, folks). 

1. Blue Jays player sparks outrage after promoting Target and Bud Light boycotts
2. York Catholic school board rejects flying Pride flag
3. Hayley Kiyoko will headline Canada’s first queer music festival
4. Japanese court declares ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, igniting hope for LGBTQ+ rights

1. Blue Jays player sparks outrage after promoting Target and Bud Light boycotts

Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Anthony Bass faced backlash after endorsing the right-wing boycott of Target and Bud Light in an Instagram reel. The video, shared by Bass, encouraged Christians to boycott the brands due to their support of LGBTQ2S+ rights. Target has faced criticism from conservatives over its sale of Pride-themed products, while Bud Light received backlash for a marketing partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Bass has since removed the reel. In a statement provided to blogTO, the Toronto Blue Jays said, “Individual player sentiments are not representative of the club’s beliefs,” but added that the team is committed to “providing an inclusive and welcoming experience for all.” The team also highlighted its upcoming Pride Weekend, which will take place June 9 and 10. Will Anthony Bass make an appearance, or will The Gays scare him off? Guess we’ll find out … 

2. York Catholic school board rejects flying Pride flag

In a move that sparked controversy among the local community, the York Catholic District School Board voted against flying a Pride flag outside its education centre in June, the Toronto Star reported. The motion was defeated in a 6-4 vote. Out lesbian former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne criticized the decision on Twitter, calling it a “cowardly, shameful decision” and noting that it “emboldens and validates homophobia and transphobia.”

Increased security measures were implemented at the board meeting due to recent disruptive behaviour related to the flag debate—which had led to clashes between parents and LGBTQ2S+ advocates. In response to one of these earlier clashes, Education Minister Stephen Lecce had expressed support for flying Pride flags in schools.

3. Hayley Kiyoko will headline Canada’s first queer music festival

Hayley Kiyoko—our favorite lesbian singer and actress—is set to headline Toronto’s lavender wild, Canada’s first queer music festival. The 32-year-old artist expressed her excitement to be a part of the event, emphasizing the significance of representation and the celebration. “I’m so proud of Toronto, and I’m so lucky to be a part of it,” she told ET Canada. “It’s going to be a very special weekend, but it’s just so important to have representation and to be able to have festivals that can bring like-minded people together and an amazing community together to celebrate themselves, especially during Pride.”

The one-day festival, which will take place on June 4 at RBC Echo Beach, will feature performances by notable queer artists including Girl in Red, Daya, The Aces and G Flip. Where can we get tickets?

4. Japanese court declares ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, igniting hope for LGBTQ+ rights

A court in Nagoya, Japan, has delivered a landmark ruling declaring the country’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The decision marks the second time a Japanese court has ruled against the prohibition, though Prime Minister Fumio Kishida continues to claim that the ban is not discriminatory. “This has rescued us from the hurt of last year’s ruling that said there was nothing wrong with the ban, and the hurt [caused by] what the government keeps saying,” said Yoko Mizushima, lead lawyer on the case, speaking to journalists after the ruling. 

Currently, same-sex couples in Japan can obtain civil unions, which are only available in certain areas. Nearly 70 percent of the population supports same-sex marriage, per recent polling. Another classic case of governments lagging behind public opinion—let’s get with the program, guys!

Bhagyashree Chatterjee (she/they) is a Canada-based Indian journalist and PR/marketing specialist. She is a co-founder of the e-RKGYF & Karmaveer Chakra Awards 2020 nominated startup called 'Phool Patte' and a founding member of 'The Film Appreciation Society' of Hindu College, University of Delhi. Bhagyashree is an advocate for social and environmental justice. She has over five years of leadership experience as a collaborator and coordinator and expertise in community engagement and team leadership. She has worked with the government of India in different capacities and is currently pursuing her Master's in Journalism from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

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