Family, its your favorite queer radio personality Anna DeShawn with our queer news for today. Now, I want to make you a promise. We will continue to bring you the latest in queer news, culture and politics: 7 minutes a day, 5 days a week. So, if you are digging our intersectional take on the daily, consider joining the QCrew.
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Now for the News
As you’ve probably heard, BG pleaded guilty to drug charges on day 2 of her trial in Russia. According to her lawyer, the guilty plea may be able to grant her leniency from the court and its ruling. President Biden finally decides to make a call to BG’s wife. & It’s about time, family. The CDC confirms 305 cases of Monkeypox and released an update on how it disproportionately affects men who have sex with men more than others. And, California Governor has repealed a law that criminalized trans women and sex workers for simply walking around, known as the ‘walking while trans’ loitering law. Let’s go.
Family BG has been wrongfully detained by Russia for 141 days. That means it’s been 141 days since BG has felt freedom. That’s about 20 weeks since she’s heard her wife’s voice. Or, over 4 & 1/2 months since she’s played basketball – the sport that’s allowed her to become a two-time US Olympic gold medalist. And today, for the first time, Brittney Grinner has pleaded guilty to the drug charges she’s facing in Russia. To understand why, we have to talk about Russia’s legal system.
You’ve heard me say this before. 99% of people who face charges in a Russian court get found guilty. And she’s facing up to 10 years. Brittney — who has been detained since her arrest at a Moscow airport on allegations of attempted drug smuggling — was urged to weigh all the factors, including a plea that could ultimately result in a shorter sentence.
President Biden still has time to make a prisoner swap. What it comes down to is negotiation. Russia has made it clear they want Viktor Bout (aka the “merchant of death”), a Russian arms trader who is serving a 25 year sentence, in exchange for Brittney. They’ve tried to trade him in the past and the U.S. has said no. I don’t see why this time would be any different. I’m sure we’ve got plenty of other Russian criminals in custody to exchange. However a senior US official told CNN, before any potential prisoner swap its expected BG would have to be convicted and also admit fault.
The White House announced that President Biden and Vice President Harris had finally spoken to BG’s wife over the phone, after she expressed her disappointment in the Biden administration in a statement on Tuesday. Charelle told reporters, “while I will remain concerned and outspoken until (Brittney Griner) is back home, I am hopeful in knowing that the President read my wife’s letter and took the time to respond. I know BG will be able to find comfort in knowing she has not been forgotten.” Luckily, the president delivered his own letter responding to BG, her lawyer confirms. But more can be done. Family, sign the petition and send up prayers for BG and her family. And let’s pray the White House gets this done.
Now about this here Monkeypox. The CDC has released an update about the U.S. Monkeypox Outbreak confirming at least 305 cases as of June 28th. Here’s where it gets concerning. At least 271 of the reported cases were among people assigned male at birth, with a fair amount of the cases showing up in men who have sex with other men. Public health officials warned us about this possible outbreak back in May, when cases first began to appear in the states. Today, cases have been reported in 28 states and the District of Columbia. I didn’t know anything about Monkeypox or any pox so I did some reading. So it is caused by a virus closely related to smallpox and it can feel like the flu at first. So if you get it you’ll probably be wondering if you have COVID. Great. But what makes this different is that it will switch from flu-like symptoms to lesions on your body. Often in your genital area so at this point you may think you have a STD. It’s a lot, okay.
The CDC has made it clear that men who have sex with men – especially those who meet their partners through an online website, app, or social event – should get vaccinated against the virus. The US government spent at least $2 billion manufacturing the vaccine for the national stockpile. But, there’s been a major setback as the Food and Drug Administration has refused to import the shots after it failed to inspect the plant. If you were wondering, that’s about 1 million monkeypox vaccine doses — which are currently stuck in Denmark. We’ll do our best to continue bringing you the latest on this, as you do your best to stay safe out here, rite. Rite. Make sure your fam and friends are okay too.
Now for some good news. On July 1, Governor Gavin Newsom repealed California’s “walking while trans” loitering law, that criminalized trans women and sex workers for walking down the street. This ends nine months of speculation on whether he would do so or not. Sex worker advocates and LGBTQ leaders have been pushing the Governor to take action because police regularly used the law to arrest transgender women who engage in sex work in order to make a living. Family, this is a major win for the movement. & We love to see it!
Now y’all know we always end with a word. The word today is coming from Lupita Nyong’o that reminds us that beauty is more about your ability to love yourself and others than the way you look. Here is the word “you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you, what sustains us, what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion; for yourself and for those around you.” Till tomorrow family, peace
Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug charges in Russian court