Pennridge School board as its vice president is more than a little problematic. A recent research report shows that Logic’s 2017 song 1-800–273-8255 decreased suicides by 6.9%. In our word for today I share about being unreasonable with your dreams.

00:00 – Welcome & Intro

00:30 – The Qube Ad

00:54 – Intro Music

01:34 – Pennridge School board as its vice president is more than a little problematic

05:45 – Logic’s 2017 song 1-800–273-8255 decreased suicides by 6.9

07:18 – Anna’s Got a Word

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About Queer News

An intersectional approach to a daily news podcast 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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About this Episode

Family, this is your favorite Queer radio personality Anna DeShawn here with our Queer news from today.

I’ve got more to share on the Pennridge School board as its vice president is more than a little problematic. A recent research report shows that Logic’s 2017 song 1-800–273-8255 decreased suicides by 6.9%. In our word for today I share about being unreasonable with your dreams. 

Do you all remember our leading story from yesterday? It was about the Pennridge School District in Bucks County, Pennsylvania banning books that had anything to do with gender identity from their libraries. They went on to create rules that students are not permitted to change their names or pronouns without express permission from their parents. Teachers have been instructed to ignore requests from students to call them by new names or pronouns until their parents have approved it. The rules also say that mental health resources may not be shared with students unless parents are involved. Now we know how incredibly dangerous that can be for a young person in the closet or living in a homophobic home. James, a 17-year-old trans student at Pennridge High School, said the school’s latest move is consistent with how he has been treated in the past. In 8th grade, James told his teacher he wanted to change his name and pronouns. They told his parents, and his dad kicked him out of the house. These are the outcomes these types of policies will have on LGBTQ young people. Well yesterday I decided I was going to do a TikTok about this story. This isn’t uncommon as I started doing them in August of last year. I enjoy doing them and people enjoy watching them. I go online, find an image to go along with the story and then get to recording. Unbeknownst to me, when I began my search all of these stories popped up about the Pennridge School District Board. The headlines read, “Months into a new presidency, election tensions are still raw in this Bucks County school district” … “Pennridge parents call for resignation of school board VP Joan Cullen” … “Social Media Postings Lead To Commissioner Asking Planning Commission Member To Resign” … “A Call for Joan Cullen’s Resignation from Pennridge School Board”. Now I’m intrigued and want to know more. I began reading about this Republican-controlled board with a particularly polarizing figure named Joan Cullen. Now the fact that Republican even came up in association to a school board is just odd because they aren’t typically defined in that way. A school board’s job is to set the vision, goals, and policy for a district. Their goal is to do what’s best for students and that shouldn’t be defined by their political affiliation but let’s be honest. Can humans really separate the two? I think it’s pretty unlikely as our very existence is political. This Joan Cullen character is at the heart of it as an outspoken Trump supporter, she’s on record saying she doesn’t believe systematic racism exists, and she attended the insurrection of the capital on January 6th. Cullen said this when questioned about her attendance at the insurrection, “My attendance at political events and social media communications related to my other elected positions has no effect on my school board work.” Oh what a classic response but we all know that it absolutely has an effect and it’s playing out right now. From what I can gather, this area is typically conservative but that’s been shifting over the last decade or so. There are people who don’t believe in what’s happening and they’ve tried to make change but to no avail. I read the argument of free speech all the time & I believe in free speech. I’m a journalist, of course I do. I also believe there is a big difference between free speech and hate speech. This school district oversees seven elementary schools, three middle schools, and a high school. It serves about 7,000 students in four boroughs in this area of Pennsylvania. Their most recent decision to ban books on gender identity, ban the changing of a students name or pronoun without parent permission, denying a students ability to seek mental health services without parent permission were all written on the wall based of their political beliefs. Parents tried to stop it from happening and couldn’t.  I wasn’t expecting to unearth all this when I went searching for a picture to help tell the story on Tiktok but I want the parents and students of this Pennsylvania school district who tried to get Joan Cullen removed to know that we here at Queer News stand with you. If you come across this episode please let us know how we can help. This type of stuff has to stop because they aren’t helping. They are causing more harm. 

Let’s move on to a story that will lift our spirits a bit. Do ya’ll remember Logic’s song 1-800–273-8255? It dropped back in 2017 and the music video starred Nickelodeon star Coy Stewart and oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle. The song centered itself around a young person being outed and contemplating suicide. The actual title of the song is the number to the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Well last month a study dropped in the Birtish Medical Association peer-reviewed trade journal looking at suicide data from the CDC and the number of calls into the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline from Jan. 2010 through Dec. 2018. They examined Logic’s song and the attention it garnered and found that the Lifeline received 9,915 more calls than it had on average during the previous time period. These calls reflected a 6.9% increase over the number of calls usually expected. They were also able to report there were 245 fewer suicides nationwide than usually experienced during the same time spans. Media has the power to change lives when it’s used for good. I say it all the time and I will continue to spread that message. Let’s continue investing in and creating life changing art in the world. 

We have to close out with a word of the day. You know Anna always has a word. Today the word is “Be Unreasonable”. If there is something you want to accomplish. If there is a vision you’ve been given or a goal you  want to attain. Don’t let anything or anyone stand in your way. You will fail. That is without a doubt. You will have missteps. That’s okay. Fail forward. Don’t allow that to stop you, be unreasonable and go get it. Do it with humility, a grateful heart, and see where the Divine will take you. Till tomorrow family, peace. 


LGBTQ Nation

School district bans books on gender identity and students’ chosen pronouns

How a music video about a gay teen may have saved hundreds of lives


Logic – 1-800-273-8255 ft. Alessia Cara, Khalid (Official Video)

Pennridge School District Stories

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