Now for the news. Brittney Griner was moved to a penal colony, the midterm elections brought a rainbow wave no one saw coming, it’s trans awareness week and let’s talk about trans youtuber Nikita Dragun’s stay in a men’s prison, I’ve got an update about Touche and that racist puppet show we talked about last week, and for my word today let me share my thoughts on Dave Chappelle’s SNL appearance. Let’s go!

00:00 – Welcome & Intro

00:34 – Palm Springs Ad

01:23 – Intro by Aina Breyon

02:01 – Anna’s Message

Things for you to check out

Brittney Griner is moved to a Penal Colony, Part 1 & 2


@annadeshawn Breaking News on Brittney Griner. #queernews on @e3radio #QueerRadioDoneRight #queernewspodcast #blacktiktok #womeninsports #wnba #lgbt #lgbtq #queer #podcast #podcasting #news #fyp #foryoupage ♬ original sound – annadeshawn
@annadeshawn What could Brittney Griner’s penal colony look like? #queernews on @e3radio #QueerRadioDoneRight #queernewspodcast #blacktiktok #womeninsports #wnba #lgbt #lgbtq #queer #podcast #podcasting #news #fyp #foryoupage ♬ original sound – annadeshawn
@queerency These 11 LGBTQ+ midterm election winners made history #greenscreen #lgbt #queertiktok #lesbiansoftiktok #wlw #blackqueer #gaytiktok #transtiktok #midterms2022 #rainbowwave ♬ original sound – queerency

ONYX is an organization formed 27 years ago and operated by Men of Color who enjoy the leather lifestyle.

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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. So, if you are digging our intersectional take on the weekly, consider joining the QCrew.

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This month our exclusive interview for the QCrew is with Angie Harvey. Angie is a dear friend of mine and a woman on a mission to help tell our stories. Her documentary “Black Rainbow Love” was her introduction to film and it’s already won 13 awards and is making its international debut! 

If you want to watch the exclusive interview, you have to join the QCrew. As always, the link is in the show notes.

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Now for the news. Brittney Griner was moved to a penal colony, the midterm elections brought a rainbow wave no one saw coming, it’s trans awareness week and let’s talk about trans youtuber Nikita Dragun’s stay in a men’s prison, I’ve got an update about Touche and that racist puppet show we talked about last week, and for my word today let me share my thoughts on Dave Chappelle’s SNL appearance. Let’s go!

BG has been wrongfully detained for 270 days. This week I reported on social media about her being moved to a Russian penal colony. They say it usually takes weeks or a month but this move happened rather swiftly after the US Embassy came to visit. I’m also sure it was no coincidence that the move happened in alignment with the midterm elections. They still do not know where Brittney is right now at this very moment. They won’t find out until Russia sends a letter to her lawyers and the US Embassy in a couple of weeks. They are reporting that it took a couple of weeks prior to the war so who knows how long it will take now.

Family, penal colonies are especially labor camps and people have akin them to concentration camps. The prisoners don’t live in cells but rather barracks. The barracks could have 60-80 people in them and I’ve read reports of numerous human rights violations, lack of heat, lack of toilets, rats, iron beds, etc. The work can go from 6am-10pm and it varies from digging ditches to sewing Russian army uniforms. Now one thing is for sure, they see Brittney has a valuable asset, so I can’t imagine they’d see physical harm come to her but we don’t know. We’re all just assuming. I’ve linked my videos in the show notes if you want to check them out and we will continue to speak her name and call on the US and Russia to orchestrate her safe return home. Bring BG home. 

The midterm elections were one for the record books. Midterms are often for the opposing party not in the White House and all of the polls showed there would be a red wave sweeping the country. The pundits were saying that Democrats weren’t going to retain the power they needed in the house or the senate. Well the midterms were a lot of things but a red wave wasn’t one of them. That is something to celebrate. Democrats don’t get credit often but I’m giving them credit today. They got Obama to dust off the microphone and get on the campaign trail. They had Biden declaring that our democracy was at stake. They went hard at the right time and people got to the polls. The Democrats have officially retained power in the Senate and if Senator Warnock can retain his seat in Georgia they will have actually gained a seat. The House is still outstanding and that alone is still a win for Democrats.  

The races were so tight that I couldn’t keep watching. I had to turn it off and then turn it back on. You know. And that last time I checked in I saw reports of a rainbow wave. Not a red wave. Not a blue wave. A rainbow wave. Big ups to Trav from Queerency for putting such a great synopsis together on TikTok. You can check out his video in the show notes but let me run down a couple of stats and some of the major wins. 

According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, at least 400 LGBTQ candidates won their political seat. That’s a record but get this; just over 1,000 LGBTQ folks actually ran for office with 678 of them making it to the midterms. So with those 400 wins 58% of all LGBTQ candidates were winners. Then on top of all that for the first time there was a LGBTQ candidate representing all 50 states.

Okay so here are some of the big winners. 

  • Maura Healey became the first woman and first lesbian elected governor of Massachusetts
  • Tina Kotek won her tight race in Oregon to become it’s next lesbian governor 
  • Robert Garcia won California’s 42nd Congressional District race and will be the first gay immigrant in Congress 
  • Erick Russell won his race for state treasurer, making him the first out Black LGBTQ person elected to a statewide office in the U.S.
  • James Roesener of New Hampshire is the first transgender man elected to a state legislature in the U.S.
  • Lastly in Texas, they elected three Black, openly LGBTQ lawmakers to office in their state legislature. Christian Manuel-Hayes, Jolanda Jones and Venton Jones. Ventton is the first Black, openly HIV-positive elected official in the country. 

Annise Parker, the former mayor of Houston and current president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund said, “Bigots tried their best to undermine our political power — but their hate backfired and motivated more LGBTQ people to run and win than ever before.” 

The Supreme Court overturning abortion rights in this country got people to the polls. The extremist hate of the Republican party got people to the polls.It got people to care. It’s sad that it takes that but it’s true. We take freedoms for granted and one thing I know for sure freedom is not free.  

It is Trans Awareness Month, bringing much needed attention to our trans fam. The month is less of a celebration and more of a call-to-action. Many local organizations and community groups feature events and educational opportunities to uplift the voices and experiences of the trans, nonbinary, and intersex communities. Yesterday kicked off trans awareness week and it ends on the 20th with trans day of resilience. For my Chicago fam, check out what Chicago Therapy Collective has planned and get engaged. For my fam across the country, I invite you to check out a couple of podcasts; TransLash & Marsha’s Plate. You’ll thank me later. 

The story I want to highlight for trans awareness week is the one about Nikita Dragun. Nikita is a beauty influencer, brand founder and transwoman who’s built her following on YouTube. For some context, she has 27 million followers across YouTube, IG, and TikTok. Well last Monday she was causing quite a stir at a hotel in Miami. It was reported that she was walking around naked by a swimming pool, caused a disturbance for a long time and then assaulted a police officer with water. I saw the story on IG and honestly I didn’t know who she was. As you can imagine, beauty influencers aren’t top on my list but what struck me was that when she was arrested she was placed in the men’s unit. A transwoman should never be placed in a men’s unit. Period. Nikita’s rep, Jack Ketsoyan, released a statement that said, “The situation with Nikita, who is legally female, being placed in a men’s unit of a Florida jail is extremely disturbing and dangerous. This decision made by the Miami-Dade County Corrections Department directly violates their protocol, which mandates that transgender inmates are classified and housed based on safety needs and gender identity.” Well we know that didn’t happen so this isn’t the end of the story. On Thursday, Nikita was released and she has a hearing set for early December. 

I’m highlighting this story in particular because this is part of the work. She was misgendered all up and through that police report. This is why we need lobbyists advocating for trans rights. This is why we need politicians that value trans life. This is why. Even if you don’t do politics, politics does you everyday and this is just one example of how that can play itself out. Come on rainbow wave. Let’s start making some new political waves that create positive change for our community. We are depending on you. 

Last week I reported on the racist puppet show that took place at Touche’ here in Chicago. Touche’ is the last standing leather bar here in the city and arguably the most popular one in the midwest. On November 1st while celebrating its 45th anniversary they decided to book a longstanding ventriloquist Jerry Halliday to perform with his puppet Sista Girl. Yea you heard me, Sista Girl. His jokes, and I have mad air quotes around jokes, spanned from loving watermelon, being on welfare and having multiple kids. The usual 1970s anti-black comedy. Now the bar did issue an apology and scheduled a town hall to talk with the community. Well that town hall was canceled.The note read, “Greetings Friends. I regret to say that tonight’s community forum will have to be canceled. Not only have I yet to line up a moderator, but now find myself in the hospital and unable to attend. Stay tuned for further updates. David Boyer.” Well that’s convenient especially when you haven’t lined up a moderator yet. If you remember, last week I had the opportunity to speak with the founder of ONYX, Mufasa Ali. ONYX is an organization formed 27 years ago and operated by Men of Color who enjoy the leather lifestyle. Here’s a little of what he shared with us [INSERT AUDIO FROM LAST WEEK]. Now ONYX Midwest has issued a statement and if you’d like to read the full response I’ve included a link in the show notes. In the response they specifically condemn:

  • The Lack of response from the bar management not to recognize, comprehend, take responsibility and act to intervene and stop this hurtful performance. The damage caused is beyond measure as a result of the lack of response. 

They also specifically condemn: 

  • The complicity of the bar patrons in causing this damage when they sided with the performer when asked if the “heckler” should leave the bar. 

They go on to say effective immediately ONYX Midwest is 

  • Removing their Colors from Touche
  • Ceasing their monthly bar nights at Touche beginning in November 2022
  • Suspending David Boyer’s honorary membership from ONYX Midwest until after a timeframe to be decided by ONYX Midwest, as well as completed educational activities

They also include a list of requirements that would have them consider returning to Touche’. Honestly, it’s one of the best written responses to an anti-black event I’ve seen in a long time. It is the blueprint. Well done ONYX Midwest and I hope you all continue to grow your community and find your supporters. If anything else unfolds with this story you know we’ll be covering it. 

Now, you all know I always close the podcast with a word. Anna’s always got a word. Well today’s word is about Dave Chapelle appearing on SNL. It was time to put the podcast together so I went to Twitter to see what was trending. I see Dave’s name and I am like oh that’s interesting I wonder what that’s about so I go and I start to scroll and I see that he was on SNL. I also saw that some SNL writers boycotted his appearance. While reading through the tweets I just shake my head because people don’t get it. I mean they really just don’t. The people boycotting Dave Chapelle aren’t questioning his genius, which is a word I think we use far too loosely today, no one’s questioning if he’s funny or if he’s made an impact on comedy. No one is questioning that. They are questioning why he had to use his platform to be so insanely transphobic. Why give those who hate the most marginalized group in this country more ammunition? Especially when it harms people I love. Just why? While scrolling Twitter I’m able to see clips of his standup on SNL and I want to be clear that I haven’t watched the whole thing and I don’t have to watch it all to reinforce what I already know. That he has the ability to tell thought-provoking jokes about the most sensitive topics of our time but decided not to offer that same brilliance during that Netflix special. That’s one reason it’s so infuriating because he could’ve done it in such a way that would not have caused immense harm. What we know to be true is that if we normalize laughing at folks’ identities who are so incredibly marginalized it causes great harm. I mean we live in a country where only 20% of people know someone who’s trans. The ignorance around trans life is very real. So I am really good at compartmentalizing, we don’t have to go into my therapy sessions right now, but I am so I can say that someone is funny and transphobic. The transphobic nature of their work doesn’t negate that they’re funny but we can absolutely call them out on it especially when they never owned it. Especially after being called in & they still didn’t get it. We can absolutely choose not to support them because that Netflix special gave a group of some of the most hateful people in this country a space to laugh at the most vulnerable. A group that despises trans folks so much that they will support Dave just to hate trans folks more. Most know what anti-blackness looks like. Most know what anti-seminitism looks like. Most have no idea what transphobia looks like. If we don’t see the problem with that then I question your humanity. I saw this quote and it says, “Being human is a given. But keeping our humanity is a choice.” So family, how are you keeping your humanity today? It is a practice not a given. Till next week, peace. 


What Brittney Griner Could Face in a Russian Penal Colony

LGBTQ Candidates Celebrate Significant Victories

Maura Healey wins Massachusetts governor’s race, NBC News projects, as the first lesbian elected to lead a state

How Joe Biden and the Democratic Party defied midterm history

A ‘rainbow wave’ spreads across the U.S. as hundreds of LGBTQ candidates win elections

Texas Historically Elects 3 Black, Gay Lesbislators to the Texas House for 2023

Trans Awareness Month

Trans influencer Nikita Dragun was held in and released from a men’s jail in Miami, her representative says 

ONYX Midwest Response to Touche’s 45th Anniversary 

Racist Puppet Performance at Touche’s 45th anniversary 

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