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National & World Briefs

New president’s promise

The incoming presidential administration ran on a platform with many LGBT planks. The Associated Press published this compendium of promises:

• Lift near-total ban on military service for transgender people.
• Bar federal contractors from anti-LGBT job discrimination.
• Create high-level LGBT-rights positions at the State Department, the National Security Council, and other federal agencies.
• Change policies containing religious exemptions allowing LGBT discrimination by social service agencies, health care providers, adoption and foster care agencies and others.
• Reinstate guidance directing public schools to allow transgender students to access bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams in accordance with their gender identity.
• Put federal resources behind efforts to help curtail violence against transgender people, particularly transgender women of color.
• Support legislative efforts to ban so-called conversion therapy for LGBT minors.
• Add questions to collect comprehensive data about LGBT through the census and other federal surveys.
• Make LGBT rights are a priority for U.S. foreign policy.

Straight-washing Chopin

A radio show, “Chopin’s Men,” that aired on Swiss public broadcaster SRF’s arts channel revealed Frédéric Chopin’s homosexual attractions have been deliberately overlooked by biographers and archivists. Though he didn’t live in Poland for most of his life, he is claimed by that country as its greatest composer. Music journalist Moritz Weber says a lot of his personal history has been deliberately straight-washed by Poland, a notoriously anti-gay place. The journalist analyzed 22 letters Chopin wrote to a school and found homoerotic language. Chopin also said reports of his romances with various female artists and musicians are meant as a cover-up. Weber reported some letters that said the composer-pianist enjoyed ‘cottaging’ – looking for sex partners in public toilets.

Lavern Cox’s transphobic dust-up

Laverne Cox said she and a friend were accosted in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park in a transphobic encounter that turned violent. She and a companion passed a man who “very aggressively” asked for the time. After her friend gave him the time, the man asked, “Guy or girl?’” Cox’s friend answered with an obscenity and Cox reports, “The guy is hitting my friend.” Cox did not call the police, but did take to Instagram and texted her therapist to help “process the incident.” Cox said “I’ve been harassed and bullied my whole life. Living in fear is not a good thing.”

‘Prom’ not Corden’s best

The latest Ryan Murphy Netflix production, “The Prom” got pretty good reviews for its adaptation of the Broadway musical. Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman are getting raves, but co-star James Corden has not. He is cast as a gay man and goes too over-the-top, according to critics. In the ongoing debate about straight actors playing gay roles, it’s not a good look. The show is about a group of stereotypically portrayed self-obsessed theater stars showing up at a small conservative Indiana town to support a high school girl who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom. One critic of Corden wrote, “It’s one of the worst film performances of the 21st century.” Another called the performance “gross and offensive, the worst gayface in a long, long time. It’s horrifically bad.” It started on Netflix on December 11. Check it out.

Trouble at lesbian bars

It appears lesbian bars are going out of business at a rapid clip. In the 1980s there were 200 bars in the USA that catered to lesbians. According to the “Lesbian Bar Project,” while there are more than 63,000 bars across America today, only 15 of them are of the lesbian type. Alabama has as many as California: one each. Texas has two. New York has three.

13 years of ‘Drag Race’

Really, has it been 13 years? VH1 has unveiled the new queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race for season 13, which premiers on January 1, 2021. The cast includes Denali, Elliott With 2 Ts, Joey Jay, Kahmora Hall, Kandy Muse, LaLa Ri, Olivia Lux, Rosé, Symone, Tamisha Iman, Tina Burner, Utica Queen, and Gottmik, the first out trans man to compete on the reality competition. Contestants vie for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar and $100,000. RuPaul referenced the COVID-19 pandemic in a statement, “Competing safely and fiercely, our 13 queens proved that it takes more than a global pandemic to keep a good queen down.”

Maybe Ambassador Pete

Chief of staff, nope. HUD Secretary, nope. UN Ambassador, nope. Out former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has been practically guaranteed a place in the next presidential administration but has had a hard time being slotted. He’s been considered for many Cabinet-level positions but hasn’t made the final cut as the administration prioritizes women and people of color for high-level positions. News reports that the one-time Army guy and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is being considered for ambassador to China

Polish LGBT Free Zones

French European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune announced he’ll visit Poland’s “LGBT free” zones in support of activists. One-third of Polish Cities have declared themselves “LGBT-free” zones. The Polish government supports towns that have lost EU funding because of this discriminatory policy. Beaune had previously called LGBT-ideology free zones, “an absolute scandal.” Beaune has not previously mentioned his sexual orientation in media interviews. But he said in the interview: “I’m gay, and I’m happy with that.”

Gabbard’s daddy’s issues

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was one of the gang of 30 running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. She skyrocketed to fame when Hillary Clinton called her a “Russian asset.” Her father led a 2004 effort in Hawaii against allowing civil unions and she helped, decrying “homosexual extremists.” So, it’s not unusual that as a member of Congress she would offer legislation that would amend Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to require that, “sex shall be determined on the basis of biological sex as determined at birth by a physician,” as it relates to high school sports. What is unusual is she is leaving Congress at the end of this term and the legislation has been referred to a committee in the House of Representatives which is controlled by Democrats. The legislation is going nowhere. 

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