Family, it’s 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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Family, it has been too long & I have missed y’all so much. These last couple of weeks have been insane in some of the best ways. I’ve had some divine experiences and all the “no’s” that I received in July made room for all the “yes’I received in August. I am really grateful the clarity came so quickly. So here’s the deal family, we are still figuring this thing out but our commitment is to be more consistent. Our commitment is to give you Queer News at the highest level possible. We are still figuring out our processes and finding our groove but we believe we are moving in the right direction.
So I’m excited today is my birthday [sound effects] is my birthday it’s my birthday it’s my birthday hey hey I am 39 today and that feels great as I sit here in gratitude. Lots of gratitude because today we launch ticket sales for the 9th Annual Purple Tie Affair: Concert & Silent Auction. It’s so hard to believe we’ve been doing this for 9 years. This year will be so special too. VIP will be our Qube Original Podcast Listening Party. This is going to be so lit. You will have the opportunity to hear what we’ve been creating in the podcast space as part of The Qube. I’m excited. For general, Kenyotta KenChris is performing with her band and she is going to shut it down. All the proceeds are going to the Chicago Therapy Collective which you will hear more about in the coming weeks. I thank you for your continued support of the work. Truly from the bottom of my heart.
Okay okay lets get into it.
Now for the news; a Heroic high school librarian who opposed the removal of LGBTQ books receives national honor, a gay son speaks out against his fundamentalist mom’s book-banning crusade, and in slasher ‘They/Them”, queer people are the heroes, not victims. Let’s go!
Our top story for today is about Martha Hickson, a New Jersey high school librarian, who received a national prize for opposing the removal of LGBTQ books from school libraries even in the face of backlash and harassment.
She told NJ.com earlier this year: “Today’s kids have access through the device in their pocket, to the entire world, for good and bad. They deserve to see their real lives and experiences portrayed in the books they read. They deserve to have those books written in the vernacular they speak and like it or not.”
With that statement, Hickson said she was targeted with defamatory comments during school board meetings, received hate mail, and was even shunned by some co-workers. Well she’s using her platform to draw attention to local school board elections, which have been a focus of far-right and anti-LGBTQ energy and funding.
Because family we know which books they are targeting. The data shows us the books center folks who are LGBTQ, Black, Indigenous, and people of color. So big ups to Martha for standing up and for the American Library Association for recognizing her courage.
Our next story is about books and courage again, in this case a 28-year-old gay man is speaking out against his own mother’s crusade to ban books in his Texas hometown. Weston Brown has been estranged from his family since 2018 when he came out. Still, when he came across a video of his mother Monica demanding that books featuring LGBTQ themes and depictions of sexuality be banned at a school board meeting in North Texas, he decided to speak up.
He told NBC news that: “It was one thing when my parents’ beliefs were causing this rift between us and it was just a family matter, but seeing now that she’s applying those same vies to public activism, at a time when so many basic rights are being challenged, I couldn’t stay quiet about it.”
In a profile, Brown described how his mother, who homeschooled him and his eight siblings and is the director of a private Christain education cooperative, strictly monitored the books and films he consumed when growing up.
This will sound weird to you, but she even went as far as to bake a pan of brownies that she claimed included “a little bit of dog poo” for her son to illustrate a point about exposing yourself to harmful ideas via books, films, etc. when he came home from seeing “Avengers: Age of Ultron” Bonkers!!!
Brown also mentioned that she removed pages from science books when he was a child to keep him and his siblings from seeing illustrations of the male and female anatomy. She warned that reading the wrong books or watching bad movies could open the door to sinful temptation.
After Brown came out in 2018, his parents had urged him to see a Christain counselor and would only allow him to see his younger siblings at church. Monica also cut him off in November of that year when she texted him, “You are not invited to our house for Thanksgiving or any other meal.”
Another crazy theory Monica passed was that her son’s homosexuality is attributed to “clown demons” that entered him when he watched part of the Stephen King mini-series IT when he was ten.
It’s so incredibly frustrating to see people like Monica use Christianity as a cover to justify their own hate. These hate filled folks are filling up positions at all levels of government to remove queer-affirming books from schools, repeal the right to same-sex marriage, shut down LGBTQ pride celebrations, pass state laws limiting the ways teachers can discuss gender and sexuality, and so much more.
For our last story today, have ya’ll heard about the film They/Them? Well it’s a thriller for sure centered around 7 LGBTQ campers attending a conversion camp who endure unsettling psychological techniques while the campsite is stalked by a mysterious killer. Writer and director, John Logan, said he wanted to include a collection of heroes that his teenage self desperately needed. He also wanted to celebrate all parts of the queer experience, including sexuality, romance, and the general vitality of the queer experience.
A lifelong horror film lover, Logan said he wanted to celebrate all the tropes of the slasher genre and the seven queer characters and the actors playing them- whom he describes as The Magnificent Seven. He wants to explain that queer characters can be complicated and not stereotyped. So here’s the deal I do not do these types of movies so you’ll have to tell me what you think, okay.
Now for our word today, I really wanna talk about redirection. My July was really tough and I received a lot of “no’s” that I thought would be “yes’”. Then August comes and I get a couple of ‘yes’ that leave me down paths that make it so abundantly clear why I got those “no’s” in July. So I want to tell you not to be discouraged by the “no’s” but rather look at them as redirection. Try to tap into what you should be doing in that moment because we can often not see God‘s plan when we’re in the thick of it. We always say hindsight is 20/20 but try to find that that incite while you’re in the midst of it. Truly surrender and give it over to God & universe to handle. Just keep your head down and do what you’re called to do. God’s promise is still very real. Till tomorrow family, peace.
A heroic high school librarian who opposed the removal of LGBTQ books receives national honor.