This week on the Queer News podcast Anna DeShawn reports on Representative Ayanna Pressley introducing the “Books Save Lives Act ” legislation to stop the book bans. Native Son publishes its annual “Class of 2023” list featuring all Black Gay & Queer men. BET’s show “For the Fellas” features Saucy Santana who gets really vulnerable about growing up Black & gay. Then Anna features the Second Sunday podcast as she begins her podcast turn down season of rest, relaxation and reflection. Let’s go!

00:00 – Welcome to the Queer News podcast 

00:22 – Queer News Listenership Survey, 

1:36 – Join the QCrew, 

3:31 – Top Queer News headlines 

8:37 – Subscribe to the Second Sunday podcast, 

10:40 – I’m Black, I’m Queer, I’m Christian & I’m Still Here

43:21 – Closing


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Family, it’s your favorite queer radio personality Anna DeShawn and this is Queer News. Your fav weekly news pod where race & sexuality meet politics, culture, and entertainment. 

Y’all know I’ve been running our Queer News Listenership Survey for a few weeks now. Thank you so much to the 37 folks who’ve completed it. The information we’re gathering has been so insightful and I need more data. I’m learning more about you, what you’d like to see more of and where you think we can improve. THANK YOU! We are at 37 which is 8 more than last week but we are trying to get to 100. For context, 500-600 of you listen faithfully every week. I need you. The survey will take you about 7-10 minutes to complete. Once you complete the survey you enter to win a $50 gift card. I’ll be closing the survey on December 31st at midnight. The link is in the show notes but you can also find it on my IG & TikTok profiles.Thank you so in advance.  

The QCrew is our Queer News community where you receive a weekly email sharing our top queer news stories, an unedited video from me about the top queer stories, and now exclusive interviews. The QCrew helps to supplement the costs of pod; podcast hosting, editing, marketing, PR, travel, etc. If you believe in the work we do. If you believe LGBTQ stories need to be amplified. If you love and respect how I report on the news and tell our stories, join the QCrew. A link is in the show notes. 

It’s time for the holiday turn down. I’m heading into my rest, relaxation and reflection season. I hope you are too. But I’m not leaving y’all with nothing. Next Monday is actually Christmas so we won’t have an episode that day but we will drop a special end of the year recap in collaboration with the Bad Queers pod on that Tuesday. Be on the lookout for that. Following that week I’ll drop a few headlines and then an episode from one of our Qube Original podcasts we dropped this year. I want to share them with you because you hear the promos but I’m not sure you actually go and listen. And I firmly believe if you enjoy this pod you will absolutely enjoy our others. And if you don’t the production is so good you’ll recommend it to someone you know.

So for now let’s get into these top news headlines. 

In politics, Rep. Ayanna Pressley is at it again. In an effort to combat the ongoing right-wing assault on books authored by Black, Brown & Queer folks she has introduced the “Books Save Lives Act”. In a press release Rep. Pressley reports that during this school year 3,000+ instances of books were banned across 33 states. That is outrageous. That is a 33% increase than last year. Rep. Pressley said, “Rather than honor the brilliance and diversity of our authors, illustrators, and librarians, Republicans are focused on further marginalizing people who already face systemic discrimination in our society – including people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, religious minorities, and people with disabilities – through discriminatory book bans…The Books Save Lives Act pushes back on this dangerous trend and reaffirms the need for representative literature by ensuring libraries nationwide maintain a diverse collection of books and classifying book bans as violations of federal civil rights laws. Every reader deserves to see themselves reflected in our literature – and our bill would help make that a reality for all. 

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Ensure primary and secondary schools have a library with a trained librarian;
  • Require public libraries and school libraries to maintain a diverse collection of books;
  • Classify discriminatory book bans as violations of federal civil rights laws; and
  • Direct the Government Accountability Office to report on the effect of book bans on underrepresented communities.

Native Son, an organization composed of Black gay/queer men who are leaders, mavericks and the best at what they do, has dropped its class of 2023 list. I always follow this list because the men celebrated are doing amazing things in the world and we often don’t know their names. Not to mention the artwork is just beautiful. Some people on the list are Avery R. Young, Chicago’s first poet Laurette, Dominic & K. Keith founders of Gaye Magazine, Don Abram founder of Pride in the Pews, singer/performer Durand Bernarr, Don Lemon, the entire team behind the film Rustin, Tim’m West, Preston Mitchum, Obio Jones, I mean I could go on and on and on. Founder Emil Wilbekin said, “This year’s 101 List is evidence of our resilience, innovation and bravery. In the words of Beyoncé, we are the bar.” I encourage you to check out the list and be inspired. A link is in the show notes. 

Next is a new show called “For the Fellas” being brought to us by BET Media Group Digital. BET isn’t usually doing anything for the queers so I don’t really talk about them much but they out did themselves with this special episode which stars Saucy Santana, Devale Ellis, Mack Wilds and hosted by Brian McIntosh. They talking about being gay in the black community. Saucy shares how if he has children he wouldn’t want them to be gay. Not because there is anything wrong with it but because of the things he went through. That took me out. They’ve been dropping previews for the last couple of weeks and they just dropped the full episode on Friday. I’m looking forward to watching it. 

That’s all for our news headlines this week. Now I’d like to introduce you to our Second Sunday podcast. Second Sunday is about Black Queer folks finding, keeping and sometimes losing faith. It’s a second look at a topic that feels increasingly dismissed and minimized. It’s hosted by my friends Esther & Darren and we’re producing this in collaboration with PRX which is generously supported by the John Templeton Foundation. We dropped six episodes this season but I decided to share the first one. It’s titled to be Black, Queer, Christian & still here says it all. In this episode Darren shares his faith journey and how he escaped a cult & conversion therapy. It’s a powerful one. I hope you enjoy it and if you do tell a friend okay. And my word for today is to know rest, relaxation, and reflection for you. Till next week, peace. 



Ayanna Pressley introduces “Books Save Lives Act” to fight anti-LGBTQ+ book bans

Native Son

For the Fellas – Saucy Santana, Devale Ellis & Mack Wilds Discuss Homophobia, Black Women & More | For The Fellas

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