Michigan outlaws conversion therapy, Canadian labour unions fight anti-LGBTQ2S+ hate, Adore Delano comes out as trans and more

5 queer and trans stories we’re watching: July 28

Good afternoon, queers! If you’ve spent the entire week listening to the Barbie soundtrack … we’re right there with ya. But press pause on “Speed Drive” for just a sec to check out our roundup of five queer and trans news stories you won’t want to miss (or don’t! Charlie XCX and being well informed can coexist). 

1. Michigan outlawed conversion therapy for minors 
2. Canadian labour unions are organizing to combat anti-LGBTQ2S+ hate
3. Trans patients sued the Tennessee hospital that gave their medical records to the attorney general 
4. Japanese pop star Shinjiro Atae came out
5. Adore Delano came out as trans

1. Michigan outlawed conversion therapy for minors 

A legislative win! Always worthy of celebration. On Wednesday, the state of Michigan outlawed conversion therapy for minors. Michigan is the 22nd state to ban this scientifically discredited and dangerous practice, which tries to “convert” queer or trans folks to being straight or cis, using things like talk therapy, faith-based counselling or electroshock therapy.

Under the new ban (a good ban for once!), any practice or treatment by a mental health professional that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender will be illegal. This doesn’t include counselling or therapy aimed at providing a safe space to explore either of those topics. 

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has a child that is LGBTQ2S+, signed the bill into law. “I’m grateful that today we’re banning the horrific practice of conversion therapy in Michigan,” she wrote on Twitter. 

2. Canadian labour unions are organizing to combat anti-LGBTQ2S+ hate

 

As anti-2SLGBTQ+ hate continues to grow across Canada, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is taking action and launching an emergency task force to defend queer and trans people.

As PressProgress reported, the CLC passed an emergency resolution in May condemning anti-LGBTQ2S+ hate, creating “flying squads” to provide on-the-ground support to “workers, organizations and communities facing attacks,” and establishing an “emergency task force” to create a tool kit for ensuring worker safety in the face of anti-LGBTQ2S+ hate. 

“We have the ability to mobilize workplaces, communities and families. We have this opportunity to really be action-oriented in each of the regions and communities across Canada,” said Gina McKay, president of CUPE Manitoba and CLC equity vice president for LGBTQ2S+ workers, speaking to PressProgress. “That kind of organizing is exactly what we need because we know that the right is organized.”

3. Trans patients sued the Tennessee hospital that gave their medical records to the attorney general 

Two trans patients are suing Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville for handing over their medical records to the Tennessee attorney general’s office. The attorney general’s office claims that they allegedly took over 100 patient’s documents as part of a routine fraud investigation. However, the trans patients are arguing that the hospital knew the state of Tennessee is openly hostile to trans people and should have removed identifying information before handing over their records. 

The attorney general’s office says that Vanderbilt has been providing records of its gender-related treatments since late last year, and their office has reportedly also requested other information about gender-affirming treatments, including the names of every patient who made a visit to the trans clinic. 

Tennessee has stood out as a state that’s particularly vicious in its legal and medical treatment of trans people, even if you use the U.S. as a benchmark. “Against that backdrop, its failure to safeguard the privacy of its patients is particularly egregious,” says the lawsuit, according to NBC

4. Japanese pop star Shinjiro Atae came out

Shinjiro Atae, a J-pop star who performed with the wildly popular group AAA before they went on hiatus, came out as gay at a fan event in Tokyo on Wednesday. “What I’m going to tell you now may not be something you expect or hope to hear,” said Atae, according to NBC. “For years, I struggled to accept a part of myself … I finally have the courage to open up to you about something. I am a gay man.”

Atae’s announcement was received warmly by fans, who cheered “hang in there!” when Atae choked up, and applauded when he was done. It’s a moment that’s all the more heartwarming given the state of affairs for LGBTQ2S+ people in Japan, which is, well, not great. Queer people in Japan still face significant discrimination in schools and workplaces, and few public figures have come out. While the government recently passed a law promoting awareness of LGBTQ2S+ people, it stopped short at providing legal protections. 

5. And Adore Delano came out as trans! 

Drag Race alum Adore Delano, our favourite punk party girl, came out as a trans woman in an Instagram video yesterday. “I wanted to let everybody know that I am transitioning,” she said, adding that it’s made her “the happiest I’ve ever been in my adult life.”

Delano explained that she came out as trans in high school and presented as a girl during that time. However, when she auditioned for American Idol as a teen, she “suppressed everything” and went back to presenting as a boy. She also hid her gender identity during her time on Drag Race, and, she says, resisted revisiting the subject until she became sober two years ago. 

“I thought that I would just work with what God gave me and be okay with that for a decade, but it was just not enough for my mental stability,” she says in her video. “I feel like the chemical imbalance in my head is now levelled. This is a feeling from dysphoria to euphoria.” Party!

🌈Bonus good news (because we need it!) 🌈

Ryan Evans from the High School Musical franchise is finally, officially, gay (he’s been unofficially gay for, well, ever)! In a new teaster for the final season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, we see Ryan tell another man he loves him and then give him a big ol’ kiss. We love to see an early aughts queer-coded character finally get their due.

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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