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An intersectional approach to daily news where race & sexuality meet politics, entertainment and culture. Tune-in to reporting which centers & celebrates all of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & comrade communities. Hosted by Anna DeShawn. 7 minutes a day, 5 days a week, ready by 9 a.m.
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First up is another story out of Texas. A couple of weeks ago the right winged ultra conservative Don Huffines, who is running for governor of Texas, made a whole mess of the Denton Public Library’s “Rainbow StoryTime ”. This event happens several times a year and it’s not just about the Queers. Every rainbow is not a reference to the LGBTQ community, okay. In this case, the library presents books about marginalized groups, self-acceptance, and friendship to kids. Doesn’t that sound lovely. The rainbow is a symbol of various groups of people coming together but I digress. Huffines and his team pulled out all the stops to get the storytime cancelled calling it “Leftist sexual indoctrination.” What! It’s StoryTime. The flier did include the word Transgender which the library came back and said was a mistake. I’m sitting here like why did that have to be a mistake but whatever. The ridiculousness of it all is maddening to say the least on both sides. Huffines efforts led to the library getting threatening phone calls and having to cancel the event. Of course Huffines and his team took the credit and were crazy proud of themselves, okay. He’s also the same guy that pressured Gov. Abbott to remove the LGBTQ suicide hotline from the state website which totally happened. Gov. Abbott is a bigot too so there’s that. It’s like a fight on who can be the biggest bigot. Well the Denton community didn’t just lay down and accept this madness. The parents rallied behind the library to send a message to these conservative bullies to not mess with Texas kids and their storytime.
Amber Briggle, who’s son is trans, took her anger and turned it into action. She went to her church and Armadillo Ale Works to host the event at a new location and this time is was specifically branded “Transgender Storytime”. Yes Mom! They swapped out two of the books originally on the list with two books specifically about transgender youth; Julian is a Mermaid & Calvin. Go check them out. Now y’all know the right wingers came out to protest but hundreds of people showed up in support. They brought their kids to Transgender Storytime in Texas and that takes a lot of courage. Denton city councilman Brian Beck said, “Yelling, screaming, threatening violence and canceling an event is not the Denton way.” Beck read the first book at the event and Briggle shared this, “I want trans kids to know they’re perfect as they are and that they’re worth fighting for…We have to celebrate these children. Reading a book with a transgender theme does not make kids transgender, but it does make transgender kids feel empowered.” Where would the world be without amazing moms. I love how they fought back. May we have enough courage to do the same in the face of bigotry and hate.
Now speaking of courage, Josephine Baker, was the epitome of that word. Tired of the racism here in America she made a home in France. There is no doubt she is an iconic performer while also identifying as bisexual, and an anti-racist activist, and a World War II spy for the resistence. A whole spy! Once asked about her role with the resistance she said, “France made me who I am,” “Parisians gave me everything… I am prepared to give them my life.” Due to the efforts of her family she will be interred at the Pantheon in Paris. Now family I had to read exactly what that meant. Essentially, it is one of the highest post-mortem honors anyone can have and she will be the first Black woman to receive it. Out of the 80 people bestowed with this distinction, 75 are men and they are of course mostly white. Her family has been raising this induction request since 2013 and this time they came with 38,000 signatures. Now they will not be moving her body from Monaco to France but they are honoring her with a cenotaph which is an empty tomb with a statue or a plaque. Way to go family for petitioning on your mother’s behalf.
Our last story for today is celebrating the season that was Dancing with the Stars. JoJo Siwa made it the Queerest season ever being the first person to have a same gendered dance partner for the enter show. Also in full transparency I had no idea who she was until Dancing with the Stars which says a lot about my social location but don’t judge me, I’ve been so impressed. She’s got pipes too. Have you heard her cover Jazmine Sullivan’s Pick Up Your Feelings? No, okay just do yourself a favor Google that. It is not the same JoJo on DWTS #ijs. I also want to send so much love to Chicag’s own Iman Shumpert for bringing home the win. He beat out JoJo’s 11+ million followers which is no easy task. We all know Imani’s wife is Teyana Taylor but that does not mean he inherited dance moves, okay. He rocked the entire season with performance after performance. In the finale, he did the footwork with his partner Daniella. Had Daniella in the middle of a Chicago dance circle doing the footwork. They kilt it. JoJo & Iman have a new fan in me.
Let’s wrap up Queer News today with my word of the day. Ya’ll know Anna’s always got a word. Today’s word is “Don’t wish for it work for it.” This quote sits behind me in my office and in my home gym. I see it every single day. We stay wishing for things but when are you going to work for it. Nothing comes to you just because you think you deserve it. That’s not how it happens. You have to go out and get it. You have to put in the time, the energy, the love. Family, don’t keep wishing for it, work for it. Till tomorrow, peace.
Texas parents step in after threats of violence get children’s story time event cancelled
Republican proudly claims credit after violent threats shut down library’s “Rainbow StoryTime”
Out dancer Josephine Baker becomes first Black woman interred at the Pantheon in Paris
Iman Shumpert puts sports world on notice with historic ‘Dancing with the Stars’ run
Pick Up Your Feelings (cover) – JoJo – Live – Atlanta