‘The L Word’ visits White House, Disney sues DeSantis, anti-queer bigot runs for N.C. governor, Montana cancels session after protests, trans healthcare for adults under attack in Texas, iconic gay editor dies

6 queer and trans stories we’re watching: April 26

Whew—it’s been a hell of a news week already, and somehow it’s only Wednesday! We hope you can take some time to log off and tune out today, whether that’s going for a walk while listening to some new queer tunes, or maybe curling up with a good book. But before you do, be sure to catch up on the six top queer stories you need to know today.

1. The L Word cast visits the White House
2. Disney sues DeSantis
3. North Carolina gubernatorial candidate called LGBTQ2S+ people “filth”
4. Montana house to vote on whether to expel trans lawmaker
5. Texas senate attacks gender-affirming care for all trans people, regardless of age
6. Iconic gay editor Michael Denneny dies at 80

1. The L Word cast visits the White House for Lesbian Visibility Week

Cast members and the creator of Showtime series The L Word visited the White House yesterday and praised President Joe Biden’s record on LGBTQ2S+ issues. Actors from the series, including Leisha Hailey, Jennifer Beals and Katherine Moennig, as well as executive producer Ilene Chaiken, had a press briefing with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, the first openly bisexual woman to hold the job, for Lesbian Visibility Week.

“They may try to erase our stories from classrooms and libraries,” Chaiken said, “but we’re here today, here at the White House. We won’t be erased.” Let’s go, lesbians! 

2. Disney sues DeSantis

Walt Disney Co. is officially suing Ron DeSantis, in a dramatic escalation of the existing feud between the Florida governor and likely 2024 presidential contender, and the media behemoth, which is a major employer in the state of Florida. 

 

The suit specifically stems from an ongoing dispute over control of Walt Disney World. Earlier this year, DeSantis was given power to appoint the board that oversees government services at the resort in an attempt to restrict its self-governing privileges, resulting in a power struggle between the state and the corporation. Disney alleges that DeSantis is running a “targeted campaign of government retaliation,” as the appointment of the board came only after the corporation criticized Florida’s contentious “Don’t Say Gay” law—which restricts education on LGBTQ2S+ topics in the state—and subsequently stopped political donations in the state. 

3. North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson called LGBTQ2S+ people “filth”

Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson announced his candidacy for governor of North Carolina on Saturday. But it’s come out that he called LGBTQ2S+ people “filth” during a 2021 speech.

“There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth,” he had said during the speech. “Yes, I called it filth. And if you don’t like it that I called it filth, come see me and I’ll explain it to you.”

The gubernatorial candidate has a history of virulently anti-LGBTQ2S+ remarks, saying that the movement for trans rights “is demonic and that is full of the spirit of Antichrist.”

In response, local Democrats are expressing alarm and opposition. “Mark Robinson is an extremist who has built a legacy of division by spewing hate toward the LGBTQ2s+ community, disrespecting women, putting culture wars ahead of classrooms and pushing to ban abortion with no exceptions,” said Anderson Clayton, the North Carolina Democratic Party chair, in a statement to WRAL News 5 in Raleigh.

4. Montana House to vote on whether to expel trans lawmaker

Montana legislators will vote today on whether to expel or censure Rep. Zooey Zephyr, the state’s first openly trans lawmaker. The move comes after she was forbidden to speak on a bill that would ban gender-affirming healthcare for minors, a move that sparked protests on her behalf. 

“I have been informed that during tomorrow’s floor session there will be a motion to either censure or expel me,” Zephyr tweeted last night. “I’ve also been told I’ll get a chance to speak. I will do as I have always done—rise on behalf of my constituents, in defense of my community & for democracy itself.”

5. Texas state senate attacks gender-affirming care for all trans people, regardless of age

The Texas state senate advanced a bill on Tuesday that would strip trans people of all ages of gender-affirming care. If passed, Senate Bill 1029 would make physicians and insurers liable for lifetime costs related to gender-affirming medical care—even if these providers are not at fault or have criminal intent. Health groups say that the bill would disincentivize healthcare providers from offering gender-affirming treatment, with the financial risks deterring them from providing care to trans people of any age. 

“It really is just an attempt to chill healthcare for all trans people,” Christopher Hamilton, the CEO of Texas Health Action, told the Texas Tribune

6. Iconic gay editor Michael Denneny dies at 80

Michael Denneny, an editor who founded the first LGBTQ2S+ imprint at a major publishing house and the gay magazine Christopher Street, died on April 15 at age 80. His brother Joe said that the cause was likely a heart attack. Denneny was openly gay despite the backlash he experienced from the publishing industry, telling Gay City News in 2004 that a group of top editors, who were closeted, “took me out for lunch and subtly threatened to end my career if my name appeared in the magazine [Christopher Street].”

“I was always interested in cultural politics,” Denneny told the outlet. “Right after Stonewall, various people thought various things. I was an intellectual. Our problem being gay was that we saw ourselves through straight eyes. I was never worried about educating straight people. All of us were self-hating. We needed to reformulate gay imaginations, reimagine sex and relationships. The way you do that is with books.

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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