‘Willow’ cancelled, historic Hanlan’s, Australia rallies, tracking celebrity allies and a Michigan librarian reads censors to filth

5 queer and trans news stories to follow: March 17

Big week for us, hey gays? On screen, we’ve gone from the high-highs of LGBTQ2S+ films sweeping the Oscars, to the low-lows of even more queer TV show cancellations. Maybe this weekend would be better spent reading some LGBTQ2S+ literature, in celebration of the librarians keeping queer books on shelves? But first, check out our round up of five LGBTQ2S+ news and culture stories you won’t want to miss: 

1) Why does TV hate queer women?
2) Activists push for official recognition of Hanlan’s Point Beach as a historic site
3) Australian activists outnumber attendees at anti-trans rallies
4) Which celebrities are speaking out over anti-LGBTQ2S+ legislation? 
5) This Michigan librarian won’t bow to censorship 

1) Why does TV hate queer women? 

Queer women and TV have a contentious history. In the 2010s, lesbians and bisexual women finally started getting some air time, but with the major caveat that they almost certainly died horrible on-screen deaths. Not great. While it seems that we may have finally moved on from the #BuryYourGays era, it’s been replaced by something new—premature, unexplained cancellations. 

This week, not one but two TV series that feature prominent queer women characters  got the chop. On Tuesday, news broke that A League of Their Own, which tells the very gay story of a 1940s all-women’s baseball league, would only get a four-episode second season as its last hurrah. Then, on Wednesday, it was announced that Disney+’s Willow, which had a major and super cute lesbian romance plot, would not receive a second season at all.  All this despite strong critical reception and dedicated cult followings for both shows—boo! Bring back our queers! 

2) Activists push for official recognition of Hanlan’s Point Beach as a historic site

It’s not beach weather yet, but Toronto’s iconic Hanlan’s Point is making its presence known early this year. After fighting the city over a proposed plan to install a permanent festival space at the famous LGBTQ2S+ nude beach, queer activists are now pushing for Hanlan’s to receive an official historic designation


Last month, the City of Toronto’s proposed creation of a permanent “festival space” at the beach prompted massive backlash from the LGBTQ2S+ community and the creation of  “Hands Off Hanlan’s,” a group dedicated to preserving the beach and its queer history. While the city eventually dropped the proposal, members of Hands Off Hanlan’s say that, after decades of being threatened by potential redevelopment, the beach needs more concrete protection. 

It doesn’t end with the deletion of the concert festival space,” Travis Myers, a member of Hands Off Hanlans, told CBC. “That’s the beginning of making sure that the space is being respected and honoured as a queer community hub like it’s been for over 80 years.

3) Australian activists outnumber attendees at anti-trans rallies

Australia may have that one MP who’s comparing same-sex marriage to nuclear waste dumps, but it also has hundreds of people showing up to protest anti-trans speaker Posie Parker. 

Parker, who has literally described herself as “transphobic,” has been making public appearances across the country to speak to supporters about her beliefs. But a coalition of local LGBTQ2S+ organizations was not about to let her have the last word. They’ve been organizing counter-protests, and LGBTQ2S+ people and their allies have been consistently outnumbering Parker’s supporters at her own talks—by as much as 4:1, according to some estimates

Damien Nguyen, the LGBTQ+ officer for Australia’s National Union of Students, told PinkNews that he has “never seen more young people showing up [to support a cause].”  So far, counter protests have taken place at Parker’s appearances in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth—and they’re not done yet. 

“It’s important to us,” said Nguyen. “We’ll be out there again and again.”

4) Which celebrities are speaking out over anti-LGBTQ2S+ legislation? 

Amid Republican lawmaker’s sustained attack on LGBTQ2S+ people (this week we’re looking at you, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Iowa and New Hampshire), it’s been revealing to see which major celebrities have taken the mic to speak in defense of queer and trans people’s rights. While it’s no surprise that drag performers like Bob the Drag Queen and Jinkx Monsoon, as well as Black trans activists like Laverne Cox, have been quick to slam homophobic and transphobic legislation, who else is willing to go on the record to denounce it? 

Among the most recent is lesbian icon Lily Tomlin, who called Ron Desantis’ most recent anti-trans laws “insane” and a “travesty.” Then there’s Jamie Lee Curtis, who told GLAAD that “there is no debate” about whether trans rights are human rights. We’ve also seen recent statements from Melissa McCarthy, Pedro Pascal and musicians like Cyndi Lauper and the B-52s. (RuPaul also finally broke her silence this week). Keep ’em coming, celebs! This list is non-exhaustive, but we’d still like to see it get longer. 

5) This Michigan librarian won’t bow to censorship 

They may be quiet, but it is definitely a mistake to mess with librarians—especially when it comes to censoring LGBTQ2S+ content. In Michigan this week, county prosecutor John Miller threatened to file criminal charges against public library workers who allow minors to check out Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer: A Memoir. The book deals with the author’s experience of coming out as non-binary and asexual, and has become a common target of anti-LGBTQ2S+ censorship attempts—it was the most-banned book in U.S. school libraries in 2022. 

But the director of the district library in Miller’s county, Amy Churchill, was not having it. After pointing out Miller’s hypocrisy in only targeting Kobabe’s book, and not books with illustrations of heterosexual sex, she basically challenged him to do his worst. “I am not hard to find,” she told Bridge Michigan. “If Mr. Miller wishes to arrest me, I am in my office working for the patrons and staff of the Lapeer District Library Monday through Friday.” High marks for reading to filth. 

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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