National

National/world briefs

First post-Bostock ruling

The first opinion using the U. S. Supreme Court Bostock v. Clayton County ruling that held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting employment discrimination based on sex covers LGBT people, occurred in a Florida bathroom case. The 11th Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling in favor of a transgender man suing the school board in Jacksonville to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The man has not lost a count case yet, but it still may not be over as the school board can ask for the full Circuit Court to hear the case. SCOTUS may not be an option due to the June Bostock ruling authored by Justice Gorsuch. The appeals ruling only affects the 11th Circuit states of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.

Biden/Harris shout out

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden named California senator Kamala Harris as his VP candidate. His introduction included praise of her as a “pioneer in marriage equality.” She, in turn, gave what the campaign called, “A shout-out to LGBTQ+ people” when she said, “the LGBTQ Americans know that love is love.” As the attorney general of California, Harris refused to defend Proposition 8, which temporarily revoked marriage equality in the state in 2008.

COVID is writing Republican platforms

The Republican national and state platforms will see little change in language from the previous ones. COVID distancing guidelines are keeping conventions from convening in person. This means any opposition to marriage or nondiscrimination for LGBT people will remain if that language was in previous platforms. The North Dakota GOP Executive Committee recently voted to disavow what sounds like a holdover from a platform from the Middle Ages opposing nondiscrimination laws and accusing LGBT people of “recruiting’ minors and infecting society with disease.” The national Republicans will use the same platform as 2016, which contained language specifying the definition of marriage, “Is of one man to one woman.” Officials said they didn’t want to open up the platform to a very small group of activists who may include even more strident language. The Republican presidential campaign cryptically commented that the platform was not something many campaigns “ran on.”

Ellen flap

Lesbian pioneer Ellen DeGeneres, whose brand has been “to be kind,” is being raked over by allegations of racism, intimidation, and unsafe working conditions. Show-owner WarnerMedia ordered an investigation but said it does not involve DeGeneres. “It’s not about her, at all.” One complaint was the producers are not taking precautions during the COVID pandemic after moving production out of LA and hiring an outside, non-union tech company to help DeGeneres tape remotely from her home. DeGeneres’ friend, Howard Stern, advised her to rebrand herself, suggested she tell staff, “So you think I’m a pr–k? I’m going to show you.” He then suggested DeGeneres should “try to work things out with her staff first.”

Emmy’s queer flap

The Emmys are here, they’re queer, and we are sort of used to it. Schitt’s Creek, Killing Eve, and Dead to Me all have leading LGBTQ+ characters or storylines and are nominated for best show of 2020. Schitt’s Creek actors Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Dan Levy, and Annie Murphy are nominated in the comedy category. Killing Eve stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are nominated actors in a drama series. Dead to Me actors Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini are also nominated in a drama series. Other nominees of LGBTQ+ note include Billy Porter (Pose), Zendaya (Euphoria), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), Jim Parsons (Hollywood), the Queer Eye hosts, the hilarious “bi-vampire” show What We Do in the Shadows, We’re Here and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Arkansas purse flap

A gay man says he faced anti-gay discrimination and rigid gender stereotypes when he went to a casino in Arkansas with his Louis Vuitton purse. Jordan Kirk tried to walk “purse first” into the casino, but the guard told him to leave his purse in his car. “Men don’t wear purses,” the security guard allegedly told him. A supervisor said the policy is to ban all bags in the casino because of the possibility of hiding a bomb in the purse. Women were carrying their purses into the casino and a supervisor admitted that if the man was a woman it would be okay. The manager relented, but Kirk had to submit the purse to a search for explosives. The casino later apologized and gave him a roll of nickels. Said Kirk, “Who is going to blow up their Louis Vuitton on purpose?”

Massachusetts Dems

Incumbent U. S. congressman Richard Neal, D-Mass., denies orchestrating accusations of sexual impropriety by his gay primary opponent, Alex Morse. U of Mass/Amherst College Democrats sent a letter, later published by the school newspaper, accusing Morse, a lecturer at the university from 2014 to 2019 and mayor of Holyoke, Mass., of using his “position of power … for romantic or sexual gain” in having relationships with students. Morse, elected mayor at age 22, admitted to meeting and dating students but said it was all consensual and age-appropriate. “I will not apologize for using gay dating apps and for having consensual sex with other adult men,” Morse told a local newspaper. Neal denied any role, but emails from the College Democrat club members show a different story. Chat logs and website reports show the author “felt conflicted” about the campaign against Morse but hoped Neal would give him an internship. The state Democratic Party will investigate after the primary, as the state party has a policy of staying out of primary elections.

Cartier accused of gay erasure in Chinese ads

A print and video campaign’s use of the same visuals but different copy wreaks of “gay erasure” to satisfy censors in China. Cartier’s campaigns showcase pairs of people in a minute-long video spot: a straight couple dancing on a rooftop, two women holding hands and playing guitar, and two men bicycling and embracing one another all with a tagline, “How far would you go for love?” Text in the print ads connotes the same-sex couples’ relationships are strictly platonic. The visual with two men of about the same age in an intense gaze is captioned, “Father and son are also friends — happily sharing life’s journey.” and “Father and son are like brothers.” The director of China Rainbow Media Awards said the brand had good intentions by trying to circumvent Chinese censors. He opined, “Some may believe [Cartier] is just trying to make some ‘pink dollars,’ but I’m inclined to be more positive in thinking that they are supporting gay rights in a way … by raising our visibility through this kind of ads,” Gay relationships in China are not illegal but remain culturally taboo.

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