Colonial residue

Many countries are still boxed in by the legacy of colonial-era sodomy laws.

So my MAGA hat story Friday went a bit viral among conservatives, prompting an onslaught of nasty and threatening responses. The joke’s on them, though, because they only proved my point about how the hat is a symbol of intolerance. Welcome to any new readers who found the newsletter as a result of that commotion!

Don’t fall for “natural law”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a new commission on “unalienable rights” Monday that will explore human rights from a “natural law” perspective. Make no mistake, that’s religious code for disguising anti-woman and anti-LGBTQ positions, as evidenced by the anti-abortion activist he appointed to head up the commission.

The power of the fan

On Saturday, a group of extremists, including Proud Boys and neo-Nazis, held a rally on Washington. They were met by counter-protesters from #AllOutDC, which included a contingent from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. At one point, the Sisters all thworped their rainbow fans together to drown out a far-right media host who had been challenging the counter-protest. Watch:

India LGBTQ rights not catching up that quickly

It was just last year when India’s Supreme Court finally struck down a colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality in the country. But this week the Delhi High Court (a lower regional court) turned down a plea to expand marriage equality and adoption rights to same-sex couples. The justices did assure the legislature that it has permission to establish an LGBT committee if it wishes too.

Botswana fights back for criminalization

Last month, Botswana’s High Court also unanimously decriminalized same-sex relations in the country, overturning a colonial-era sodomy law. But this week, the country’s government announced it would be appealing the decision. Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe claimed the High Court had “erred” in its ruling.

Malaysian activists fight anti-LGBTQ persecution

In Malaysia, yet another country with a colonial-era sodomy law still on the books, activists are trying to bring attention to state-sponsored violence and persecution of LGBTI people. A coalition of 41 groups released a statement laying out the evidence of such programs, including conversion therapy camps and other “rehabilitation” efforts to try to curb “LGBT behaviors.”

London Pride compensates for last year’s protest

Last year, the London Pride Parade was interrupted by a group of TERFs who called themselves “Get the L Out.” This group of anti-trans lesbians claimed that “lesbian rights are under attack by the trans movement,” a false, hateful message that was surely a surprise to the many lesbian trans women out there.

This year, to call out that hateful nonsense, the parade was lead by “L with the T,” a group of lesbian and queer women showing their support for trans rights. They were followed by “B with the T” and “G with the T” groups showing solidarity from across the acronym. Check out pics and videos over at Pink News.

Anti-LGBTQ bigot jumps to ‘pedephilia’ claim

A pair of controversies out of Arizona: First, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) hung a Pride flag and trans flag at the state Capitol building, but then they were immediately taken down. Hobbs blamed Republican leaders in the legislature for their removal, but they reportedly violated banner-display codes for the building.

After seeing the display, Diane Douglas, former Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state, posted on Facebook that she thought the trans flag was a “pedephilia” flag [sic], and accused Hobbs and current superintendent Kathy Hoffman of promoting both pedophilia and incest. As Hemant Mehta documents, she edited her post seven different times, but stood by her nasty anti-LGBTQ accusations. And by the way, there is no pedophilia flag.

Rejecting LGBTQ children and accusing LGBTQ people of wanting to hurt children too often go hand in hand.

Homophobia in Harlem

For the second time in just over a month, the Alibi Lounge in New York City has had its Pride flags burned. Located in Harlem, Alibi Lounge is the only black-owned gay bar in the city. Police are still investigating the first act of vandalism, which was caught on camera, as a possible anti-gay hate crime.

Unopened business owner threatens LGBT community

Paul Dunn, the owner of an unopened restaurant in Fayetteville, Arkansas, lashed out at LGBTQ people and liberals last week, blaming them and threatening them for not being able to open his business. Recently, a collection of very racist posts from Dunn’s Facebook had been published in local media and passed around online, and he claims this unfair attack caused investors to drop out.

In a bizarre press conference, he insisted that he deserves an apology. “If the LGBT community and the liberal community do not apologize by Aug. 13, I'll see them on the dark side of the moon,” he said threateningly. The whole situation is strange, but I guess that’s the kind of stark interaction that can sometimes happen in a southern LGBTQ-friendly haven like Fayetteville.

The queer backstory of The Little Mermaid

A whole lot of people (a.k.a. racists) have been freaking out that Disney cast black actress Halle Bailey to play Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. But there’s yet another reason for those with a penchant for intolerance to despise the story: its surprisingly queer origins! Hans Christian Andersen was reportedly bi, and he wrote the story as an allegory for his own pining for a heterosexual man who would not return his affections. The original story didn’t have as happy an ending either.

Family acceptance makes all the difference

Trans rights blogger Monica Roberts flagged this gorgeous short film, “The Real Thing,” about a soldier coming home from deployment to find that his child now identifies as a girl. It brought a tear to my eye and hopefully will yours too. Such family acceptance can be life-saving, but it’s still hardly the norm:

Even bunnies face homophobic backlashes

Bini the Bunny is a rabbit on Instagram with 99,000 followers. On Sunday, he posted a picture in which he’d been photoshopped with rainbow sherbet colors, prompting a backlash that the bunny was getting too political by supporting LGBTQ rights. Bini countered that it was just supposed to be colorful, but now that you mention it, “This page supports all people of all the colors. True bunny lovers will always support love over hate.”

Yesterday I uploaded a photoshopped colorful picture of myself. Surprisingly I received some anti-LGBT hate messages (Why?!). We never post political posts, it was just about a colorful bunny. But for those of you who want to know. This page supports all people of all the colors. True bunny lovers will always support love over hate 🐰❤️🏳️‍🌈 #loveislove
July 7, 2019

Who run the world?

And of course, I have to extend a big congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team on winning the World Cup. Megan Rapinoe celebrated with her two teammates, Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger (who are engaged to each other!) to double down on her claim from last week that “you can’t win a championship without gays on your team.”

Nike also immediately put out an ad celebrating the win that also referenced the fight for equal rights, echoing the “Equal pay!” chants that rung out after the team’s victory.

I’ll be spending the rest of this week in Philadelphia at Netroots Nation, so I can’t promise I’ll have a newsletter out every day, but I’ll do my best!

Until next time, stay platinum!

(#LwiththeT photo credit: Twitter/@PrideinLondon.)