Quebec health card struggles, House Republicans defund queer community projects and more

5 queer and trans stories we’re watching: July 19

Happy Wednesday, y’all! Take a break with the top stories today, including an apology from the British prime minister, Quebecers’ struggles to get accurate health cards and more.

1. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak apologizes for past LGBTQ+ military ban
2. Trans and non-binary Quebecers still struggle to get accurate health cards
3. House Republicans stage last-minute move to defund LGBTQ2S+ community projects
4. Queer African asylum seekers are being left unsheltered on the streets of Toronto
5. Italy erasing lesbian moms’ names off of children’s birth certificates

1. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak apologizes for past LGBTQ+ military ban

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and defence secretary Ben Wallace issued a formal apology for the previous ban on LGBTQ+ people serving in the armed forces. The apology comes at the recommendation of a government-commissioned report about the experiences of queer people and the military, which also advised compensation to queer veterans of up to 50 million pounds. Wallace told The Guardian that he hoped to set out “an elegant solution that matches the need and the requirements of those individuals” after the government’s summer recess.

“As today’s report makes clear, in that period many endured the most horrific sexual abuse and violence, homophobic bullying and harassment, all while bravely serving this country,” Sunak told MP. “It was not acceptable. It was not what the brave men and women it affected deserved. For that, on behalf of the government and the armed forces, I am deeply sorry.”

2. Trans and non-binary Quebecers still struggle to get accurate health cards

Despite the passage of Bill 2—which allowed Quebecers to use the X gender marker on their personal identification—last June, many trans and non-binary people are having trouble getting accurate health cards. The two government agencies that print health cards can’t print cards that designate people as non-binary, with Quebec’s health insurance board and the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec telling CBC that they lack the authorization and technology to replace the M or F. 

In response, trans advocates are speaking out. “Having correct ID is something that saves lives,” Celeste Trianon, a law student and activist, told CBC. “People take it for granted if you’re not a trans person or an undocumented person.”

3. “Terrorists”: House Republicans stage last-minute move to defund LGBTQ2S+ community projects

House Republicans yesterday introduced a last-minute amendment to the 2024 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development spending bill to defund three queer community projects. The community centres in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania served queer seniors, and the projects make up only 0.1 percent of the total funding. Rep. Brandon Doyle of Philadelphia, whose William Way LGBT Community Center was defunded with the amendment, told the Advocate that he and his colleagues believe the Republicans had searched the bill for the keyword “LGBTQ” to see what they could defund. (Talk about a petty move!)


“They want to strip funding for LGBTQ2S+ senior housing and community centres, which offer critical resources like HIV testing, career development and mental health services,” Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said to the appropriations committee. 

4. Queer African asylum seekers sleeping on the streets of Toronto

Queer Africans fleeing to Canada to escape anti-LGBTQ+ violence are facing a different crisis: Toronto’s shelters. In the past month, after being told that there was no more space in the shelters, dozens of asylum seekers have been sleeping outside Toronto’s shelter intake centre on 129 Peter Street, per recent reporting from VICE

The asylum seekers have been relying on volunteers for access to their most basic resources and have been facing, unsheltered, one of Canada’s most brutal summers, with one doctor telling VICE she treated “a man with trench foot.” The city is currently pressuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for $157 million to support the asylum seekers.

“Where I’m from, we’re not allowed to express ourselves. They say love is love but we’re discriminated against and in danger,” Kevin, a queer, homeless asylum seeker, told the outlet. “I want to live freely. Interact with other people and get to at least build myself and my life again.”

5. Italy erasing lesbian moms’ names off of children’s birth certificates

After far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced that the government would no longer register the children of same-sex couples, Italy has started removing lesbian moms’ names off their children’s birth certificates. Michela Leidi and her wife Viola said that they were one of the first three lesbian couples to be affected by the policy, with the two of them receiving a letter in the mail warning them about it.

“It was if I did not exist,” Leidi said. “On paper, they say Giulia has one mother, but we know she has two. We will do everything possible to prove we are a good family.”

🌈Bonus good news (because we need it)🌈

In light of the ongoing writers’ and actors’ strikes, Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon spoke out in solidarity, urging fellow drag performers to not break the picket line, and to decline work if they are approached by studios. 

“If a company approaches you right now to promote new work, to act in new work, to write for new work and you take that job, you will be considered a scab,” she said. The category is: we love to see it! 

(Want to learn more about what scabbing looks like when it comes to the ongoing strikes? Our own Mel Woods is breaking it all down for you over on Xtra’s TikTok.)

Jackie Richardson is a freelance writer based in Western New York. She has worked at The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, and The Sophian.

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