New Janelle Monáe, AMA president vows to fight for trans people, GLAAD media awards, trans teens sue Montana and a Sapphic horror biopic

5 queer stories we’re watching: May 15

Happy Monday, queers! Here’s hoping that you’re adequately caffeinated and well rested from the weekend (or, if not, that whatever you got up to was well worth the pain). A lot has happened over the past few days, but we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up five queer and trans news stories that are must-reads, so you can get all caught up on anything you might have missed. 

1. Janelle Monáe drops new super-queer music video
2. New American Medical Association president vows to fight trans healthcare bans 
3. The GLAAD media awards honour queer stars and creators in NYC
4. Trans teens are suing Montana over access to gender-affirming care
5. Shailene Woodley will play Patricia Highsmith in a Sapphic horror biopic

1. Janelle Monáe’s new music video celebrates Black queer women and non-binary people

There are a lot of reasons to love Janelle Monáe. We could list them—their recent turn in Glass Onion and her ongoing LGBTQ2S+ advocacy come to mind—but why try to count the grains of sand on a beach, ya know? And now we have even another list item: the sexy new music video for their single “Lipstick Lover,” which celebrates the beauty and sexuality of Black queer women and non-binary people. 

If the very fact that this pansexual icon is in it isn’t enough to get you to watch, here’s a list of things you can expect: Monáe being brought back to life by a poolside kiss with a woman, beautiful naked bodies of all sizes and a bed literally covered in sex toys. Yeah.

The video and single are part of a lead-up to Monáe’s highly anticipated album, The Age of Pleasure, which is set to drop on June 9. If this video is any indication, it’s certainly a pleasure worth waiting for. 

2. The new president of the American Medical Association vows to fight trans healthcare bans 

Not only is the American Medical Association (AMA) getting its first openly queer president, but he’s vowing to fight against the tidal wave of trans healthcare bans—even before the start of his term. Jesse Ehrenfeld, who will officially assume the position on June 13, told the Washington Blade that pushing back against legislative attempts to restrict access to trans healthcare will be top priority. 


“We simply will not stand for the government coming in to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship,” he said, adding that this kind of legislation “outlaws what we know to be appropriate, evidence-based clinical guidelines–based care.” Ehrenfeld said that the AMA will use “every avenue available” to combat it. 

Ehrenfeld has worked on improving access to care for LGBTQ2S+ people in the past, and the AMA has long advocated for more inclusive medical practices for queer patients. Despite the onslaught of legislation saying otherwise, the organization has maintained its stance that gender-affirming care saves lives. If only politicians could start listening to doctors, that would be amaze! 

3. The GLAAD media awards honour queer stars and creators in NYC

The GLAAD media awards ceremony took place in New York on Saturday night, continuing the LGBTQ2S+ media org’s yearly tradition of celebrating accurate and inclusive portrayals of the queer and trans community in film, TV, journalism, comic books and music. The show was hosted by Harvey Guillén, of What We Do in the Shadows fame. 

Notable winners included HBO’s We’re Here, which features Drag Race alums Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen and Eureka O’Hara, and snagged the award for Outstanding Reality Program. Joel Kim Booster’s Fire Island and Billy Porter’s Anything’s Possible tied for Outstanding Film—Streaming or TV and Dove Cameron took home the award for Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist. (And we’d be remiss to not mention that Xtra contributor Nico Lang took home a big one, too!) 

Country artist and longtime ally Maren Morris won the Excellence in Media Award, and used her speech to call out Tucker Carlson, who, until recently, hosted a show on Fox News. “Maybe I felt a little badass taking Tucker Carlson’s calling me a lunatic for standing up to transphobia [and] turning it into a T-shirt and raising $150,000 for LGBTQ+ charities,” she said. It wouldn’t be a queer night out without some reads!

4. Trans teens are suing Montana over access to gender-affirming care

While we strongly maintain that providing safe, accessible healthcare to trans youth should be the purview of adults, we stan the queer teens who are taking matters into their own hands. Two trans teenagers, with the help of their parents, healthcare providers and the ACLU, are now suing the state of Montana over their recent ban on gender-affirming care for minors. 

Sixteen-year-old Scarlet van Garderen and 15-year old Phoebe Cross are arguing that the ban violates their constitutional rights to equal protection, dignity and the ability to seek healthcare, as well as their parents’ right to direct the upbringing of their children. They’re also making the case that the law is unjust because trans youth are barred from receiving treatments that are available to cisgender youth for reasons unrelated to gender. 

“I will never understand why my representatives are working to strip me of my rights,” said Cross in a statement. “The blatant disrespect for my humanity and existence is deeply unsettling.”

5. Shailene Woodley will play Patricia Highsmith in a Sapphic horror biopic

There’s nothing quite like a Sapphic film that can adeptly be described as “murderous,” and the upcoming Patrictia Highsmith biopic, depicting the life of the notable lesbian and author of The Price of Salt (which of course was the basis for iconic 2015 lesbian film Carol), is promising to deliver just that. It was announced this week that Highsmith will be portrayed by Shailene Woodley of Big Little Lies, with model and actress Cara Delevingne and Noémie Merlant of Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Tár, set to play her lovers. To add to the queer cred of some of these actors, the production studio, Killer Films, was the studio behind the making of Carol—very promising. 

Highsmith was an American writer known for her psychological thrillers. The film, titled The Murderous Mrs. Highsmith, is going to be a horror-style look at the period before she wrote one of her most famous (and also quite gay) works, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and her interactions with women lovers during that time. And, if the name is any indication, not everyone involved will live to see the sequel. Spooky! Hot! Count us in.

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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