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Hot take equals hot water

Bette Midler’s “hot take” on a newspaper article landed her in hot water with the transgender community and allies. She went exclamation mark-berserk on Twitter, “WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives, and even of our name! They don’t call us ‘women’ anymore; they call us’ birthing people’ or ‘menstruators,’ and even’ people with vaginas!’ Don’t let them erase you! Every human on earth owes you!” She got 100,000 likes but was also inducted into the “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist Hall of Shame.” She joins J. K. Rowling and Martina Navratilova in that ignominy. “The Divine Miss M” took fire from writer Arielle Tschinkel who wrote, “trans women existing doesn’t make me any less of a woman.” Queer artist Ro Salarian tweeted. “Bette Midler being a TERF despite getting her start playing at gay bathhouses is a reminder that being progressive is like doing the dishes. You’re never really *done* with it.” Even TV’s Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter, appeared to criticize Midler’s remarks without naming names. Midler later tweeted, “There was no intention of anything exclusionary or transphobic in what I said; it wasn’t about that.”

Social media LGBT protection is sub-par

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has been rating social media anti-harassment performance for two years. GLAAD’s second annual Social Media Safety Index shows major social media platforms still do a sub-par job protecting the safety of LGBT users. The five platforms’ scores: Instagram, 48%; Facebook, 46%; Twitter, 45%; YouTube, 45% and TikTok 43%. The platforms were rated on: 1. Whether the company discloses a policy commitment to protect LGBT; 2. Discrimination, harassment, and hate on the platform; 3. Option for users to add pronouns; 4. Policies prohibiting targeted deadnaming and misgendering. 5. Options users have to control the company’s collection, inference, and use of information related to their sexual orientation and gender identity. 6. DIE training for content moderators.

Brittney Griner cops a plea

WNBA champion Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges in Russia. Griner has been in Russian custody since February, when she was arrested with hashish vape liquid in her luggage at the Moscow airport. Russian media speculates that she could be “exchanged” for an arms dealer the U.S.A. has detained for spying. Griner’s wife has chided the U.S government for not doing enough. Grievance spokespeople in the U.S. claim homophobic sexism is involved and that cis-male star, LeBron James, would be out by now.

A restrained Ricky Martin

Puerto Rico courts issued a restraining order against Ricky Martin. Police in his hometown of Dorado attempted to serve the order, but they could not contact him. Authorities could not reveal who had filed for the order. Local news reports Martin and the party that requested the order had dated for several months. It also reports that the order states the two had broken up two months ago. However, it claims that Martin wouldn’t accept the breakup, and the petitioner fears for his safety. Martin’s representatives said the allegations against him aren’t true.

No Norway Pride

An attack that left two dead and 21 wounded in a gay bar in Oslo, Norway led authorities to cancel Pride activities throughout Norway. Norway raised its terrorism threat assessment to its highest level. A suspect in the attack is a 43-year-old Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin.

A pox on monkeypox

As cases of monkeypox virus surge in the U.S., the federal government is releasing 56,000 doses from the over one million dose inventory of vaccines for the disease. Demand is quickly outstripping supply with vaccination appointment websites crashing from too much traffic. A Salt Lake County Health Department event saw over 500 people vaccinated, with vaccines running out before the scheduled end. The focus will be on the most impacted locales with the highest numbers of cases. The target demo is “men who have sex with men.” The infections, normally seen in Africa, showed up in Europe at raves and fetish festivals this Spring and now at brunches and pool parties in the United States. California, Florida, and the northeast state account for the bulk of reported infections.

Mexico marriage equality mixed results

Despite the popularity of Mexican beach resorts for gay and lesbian revelers from the U.S.A., most of Mexico is still a dangerous place for openly gay relationships by Mexican nationals. In Acapulco, same-sex marriage is not allowed. However, Mexico City does allow marriage equality, and the city government is hosting a mass wedding for same-sex couples as part of celebrations of LGBT Pride Month.

Pride celebrations in “rural” U.S.

A writer for Los Angeles-based “The Advocate” looked down at “fly over country” and wondered if Pride celebrations occurred in rural areas. A grad student at the University of Oregon had the answer: There were at least 330 Pride festivals held in 2022 in the United States, almost half in towns with fewer than 50,000 people. There is no national database of Pride festivals. The Human Rights Campaign reports celebrations have spread from larger cities to suburbs and small towns across most states. For instance, HRC reports that Mississippi has experienced an increase from one to about a dozen events over the past few years. It also reports that suburbs of large metros have Pride celebrations.

Disney’s struggle

Photo: Pixar

“Lightyear,” the newest Disney spinoff of “Toy Story,” is enmeshed in controversy and bad box office. It was banned in 14 Middle Eastern and Asian Countries for a same-sex kiss by computer-generated female-presenting characters. China censors are requesting some edits before exhibition. Disney is resisting. Producer Gayle Sussman said, “We’re not going to cut out anything, especially something as important as the loving, inspirational relationship” between computer-generated, fantasy characters. China is the biggest in-person cinema market in the world now but is somewhat hampered by draconian COVID shutdowns. As soon as Chinese theaters open, Disney may join the National Basketball Association in kowtowing to the Chinese censors by chasing box office receipts.

Other cinema news

“LGBTQ Nation” movie writer John Russell has released his list of “5 queer movies to give you romantic summer vacay vibes.”

”Fire Island” is a new release with a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” taking place in the ultimate gay beach town: the Fire Island Pines. Russell says the cast, including Bowen Yang and Margaret Cho, “Are an utter delight, and they use the specificity of Fire Island’s gay scene to brilliant effect.”

“Three Months” is another new release that stars pop star Troye Sivan as Caleb, a high school grad who spends the summer between senior year and college waiting to find out whether he’s contracted HIV after a one-night-stand. It’s apparently a sweet, feel-good movie with summer love and bicycling scenes as an allegory for coitus.

“Princess Cyd” is a 2017 film where 16-year-old Cyd (Jessie Pinnick) spends the summer in Chicago with her aunt. She meets a queer barista who makes Cyd question her sexuality as the two grow close.

Photo: Summer of 85

“Summer of 85,” a 2020 French-Belgian film, is set in Normandy. Again, a teen meets and falls head-over-heels for the handsome and reckless type. Their love affair begins well but devolves into … gasp … a melodramatic gay relationship. Russel writes. ‘It’s worth it for a beautiful European setting, 80s nostalgia, and a short-lived gay romance. Think of this as a campier, down-market “Call Me by Your Name.”

“Call Me by Your Name” may have aged a bit and Armie Hammer, who is the older, married guy in this “March to June” coupling, has gotten creepy in real life. Russell calls this straight-washed adaptation of André Aciman’s 2007 story, “A gorgeous film that transports you to a languid summer “somewhere in northern Italy, where two young men fall in love.”

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