An F-you to drag bans from boygenius, plus two trans healthcare bans overturned

Just 2 of the 5 queer and trans stories we’re watching: June 30

Happy Friday, queers! Fingers crossed that you’ve managed to recover from what we hope was an epic Pride weekend if, say, you live in Mexico City, San Francisco, New York or Toronto. Or perhaps you are resting up ahead of Pride festivities in your area? Either way, before you succumb to the weekend chill, don’t forget to read our roundup of five essential queer and trans news stories. 

1. boygenius says “fuck you” to Tennessee governor over anti-drag legislation
2. Two NHL stars criticized the league’s decision to nix Pride jerseys 
3. A gender studies class in southwestern Ontario was the target of a hate-motivated attack
4. Two more trans healthcare bans were blocked in the U.S.
5. Dylan Mulvaney said that Bud Light never reached out her about the backlash to their collab

1. boygenius says “fuck you” to Tennessee governor over anti-drag legislation

We stan queer icons who are ready to call out anti-trans and anti-queer legislators, and the eternally crushable members of queer supergroup boygenuis fall into that category. During their set at the Re:SET music festival in Nashville this week, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus swapped out their usual dapper suits for drag-inspired looks to deliver a message to Tennessee governor Bill Lee. 

After introducing their alter egos—Queef Urban, Lucille Balls and Shanita Tums—Baker spoke about growing up closeted in Tennessee. “Today, I’m so grateful for my life … because I’m content with the person that I am,” she said. “I have a lot of anger for people who have made me feel small and made me feel erased.”

Then Bridgers chimed in: “Can we say ‘Fuck Bill Lee’ on three?” This year alone, Governor Lee has signed seven anti-LGBTQ2S+ bills into law, including a gender-affirming care ban and a recently struck-down drag ban. The band led the crowd in the chant, and damn, we wish we’d been there to join in. 

@kiwifrt the boys introducing their drag names #boygenius #phoebebridgers #julienbaker #lucydacus ♬ original sound – bryar 🌷

2. Two NHL stars criticized the league’s decision to nix Pride jerseys 

The ongoing saga around the NHL’s Pride jerseys is back—but with an actually hopeful chapter this time. A late-game … comeback? Well, maybe that’s taking it a bit far, but this week, two major NHL stars came out in defence of Pride jerseys and criticized the league’s recent decision to get rid of them. 

After several players opted out of wearing them, the NHL announced that teams would no longer wear Pride jerseys, or any themed jerseys, during warm-ups starting next season. However, some high-profile players are speaking out against the decision. “It was 98 percent or 99 percent of other players that wore the jersey enjoyed wearing it and were proud,” Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos told the CBC. “The story shouldn’t be about the guy that didn’t wear it.”

“It’s disappointing to see,” Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. “We strongly feel hockey is for everybody, and that includes the Pride nights.” We know who we’ll be cheering for next season—glittery posters are in the works. 

3. A gender studies class in southwestern Ontario was the target of a hate-motivated attack

On Wednesday, a gender studies class at the University of Waterloo in southwestern Ontario was the site of a triple stabbing. Police are calling it a hate-motivated attack on the LGBTQ2S+ community.

According to reports, a recently graduated student, Geovanny Villalba-Aleman, walked into a class of about 40 students and asked the 38-year-old professor what the subject of the class was. Then, he allegedly attacked her with two large knives. As people tried to escape the room, two students, a 19-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman, were also stabbed. All three victims had serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Villalba-Aleman was quickly arrested and is now facing four counts of assault with a weapon and two counts of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. 

“Investigators have reason to believe that this was a planned and targeted attack motivated by hate related to gender expression and gender identity,” said Waterloo Regional police chief Mark Crowell at a news conference on Thursday. “The LGBTQ2S+ community, we believe, was targeted.” 

The following day, local community group Spectrum released a comment on Instagram, stating: “We are not surprised by yesterday’s targeted attack of a gender studies class at the University of Waterloo. It is an escalation of the rise in hate speech targeting trans and non-binary people, which LGBTQ2S+ people have been ringing warning bells about. It is past time for our leaders to act for queer safety.”

4. Two more trans healthcare bans were blocked in the U.S.

Joining the ongoing barrage of anti-trans legislation being passed in the U.S. is a second, emerging trend that we can actually get behind—a slew of judges are blocking trans healthcare bans that made it into law. This week, judges in Kentucky and Tennessee joined judges in Florida, Arkansas and Indiana with their decisions to partially overturn legislation that restricted access to gender-affirming care. 

In Kentucky and Tennessee on Wednesday, federal judges blocked portions of each state’s respective bans. Specifically, in both cases, the judges nixed the states’ attempts to restrict access to puberty blockers and hormone therapy for trans youth. In Tennessee, the judge stopped short of ensuring access to gender-affirming surgeries, and in Kentucky, surgeries were not addressed. 

While over 20 states have passed laws restricting or outright banning gender-affirming care, it’s becoming clear that, when challenged, judges are quick to strike down such legislation. Now that’s a legal battle worth fighting. 

5. Dylan Mulvaney said that Bud Light never reached out her about the backlash to their collab

Sad to say that nearly three months later, anti-trans trolls are still not over the fact that Bud Light, which is owned by Anheuser-Busch, sent TikToker Dylan Mulvaney a can of beer with her face on it. And ever sadder is the fact that during literally months of widespread, hateful anti-trans backlash to the brand partnership, Anheuser-Busch apparently never once checked to see how Mulvaney was doing.

In a TikTok video posted yesterday, the trans influencer said that no one from Anheuser-Busch has reached out to her privately since the initial video was posted on April 1. “For months now, I’ve been scared to leave my house, I’ve been ridiculed in public, I’ve been followed,” said Mulvaney. “For a company to hire a trans person and then not publicly stand by them is worse, in my opinion, than not hiring a trans person at all.” 

In that context, the statement made by Anheuser-Busch’s CEO, Brendan Whitworth, on Wednesday, which said that the company will continue to support the LGBTQ2S+ community, is a prime example of the emptiness of performative allyship. We will not cheers to that.

Bonus good news (because we need it!)

Massachusetts governor Maura Healey, who was the country’s first lesbian governor, is trolling Texas and Florida for their anti-LGBTQ2S+ laws. Massachusetts has put up billboards in both states that feature images of queer couples, proclaiming that Massachusetts is “for us all.” 

“At a time when other states are misguidedly restricting LGBTQ2S+ rights, we are proud to send the message that Massachusetts is a safe, welcoming and inclusive place for all,” said Healey in a statement.

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.

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