[00:00:00] There’s no place like the Qube

[00:00:25] family. It’s your favorite queer radio personality. Anna DeShawn, and this is Queer News. Your favorite weekly news pod where race and sexuality meet politics, culture, and entertainment. Have you heard? We’ve got a queer news tip line. That’s right. Our queer news tip line is open and you can get the link in our show notes.

[00:00:50] I want to report on the stories that don’t make the news or a blog. So many things are happening locally and I want to amplify them here on [00:01:00] this podcast. So please drop us your queer news tips. Okay? Calling on my cute crew. What’s going on family? Have you watched our special interview for the month with Juju Bae?

[00:01:14] Juju is an ocean priest, a podcaster, spiritual advisor, and community friend of this podcast. She’s currently starring in the Hulu series, Living for the Dead. We’re a group of queers help the living by healing the dead. Juju is their resident witch. Okay. We had a wonderful conversation about her journey and her new book, the book of Juju, which is set to drop in the spring of this year.

[00:01:37] So I hope y’all really enjoy our chat. Go check it out. A link is in our exclusive emails that come to your inbox every week. And if you don’t know, the Q crew helps to supplement the cost of the book. of this podcast, the hosting, editing, marketing, PR, travel, all of it. So if you believe in the work we do, if you believe LGBTQ stories need to be amplified, if [00:02:00] you love and respect how I report on the news and tell our stories, join the cute crew.

[00:02:05] A link is of course, in the show notes. Now for the news in politics, we will celebrate the settlement in Florida that rolls back some of the don’t say gay legislation. I also want to share some of my thoughts on the summary report from the medical examiner’s office that says that Next Benedict died from suicide.

[00:02:29] In culture and entertainment, we celebrate the life of David Mixner, talk all things the GLAAD Media Awards, and celebrate the grand opening of the Sisters in Cinema Media Arts Center here in Chicago. Let’s go.

[00:02:49] Celebrate good things, come on. Do, do, do, do. Boom, boom, boom, boom. Yahoo. Boom, do, do, do. Boom, boom, boom. Yeah, that’s how I’m feeling. We’re going to [00:03:00] celebrate, okay? Family, we’ve got to celebrate. I comment every week about another terrible story, another anti trans, another anti LGBTQ bill that has been introduced in one of these anti states, okay?

[00:03:17] And this week, today, you are hearing me celebrate because we must. And let me tell you why. We’ve got a big win coming out of Florida. Yeah, you heard me right, coming out of Florida. So let’s talk about it. Okay. Cause we can say gay. Yes, we can. Now we are all very familiar with the don’t say gay legislation that DeSantis signed into law in March of 2022, which was further expanded down the line, right?

[00:03:44] The legislation was intentionally vague to essentially erase LGBTQ life from Florida. and become a blueprint for how other states could do it too. And they have Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, we could go on and [00:04:00] on. And it’s worked right. To some degree has absolutely worked. As you’ve heard me report on this pod week after week.

[00:04:06] But you’ve also heard me report on how we are fighting back, how folks are showing up to school board meetings and testifying in their local legislative bodies and showing up to parties. protest and showing up to protect our comrades at drag story hours across the country. Well, when DeSantis signed that law in 2022, our friends at Equality Florida and Family Equality and NCLR filed a lawsuit to fight this hateful piece of legislation.

[00:04:35] And so on Monday, March 11th, the news began circulating with all of this great news. My email was blowing up. I was getting all the press release notifications that a settlement was reached to combat this awful piece of legislation that went incredibly viral. and nicknamed the Don’t Say Gay Bill. Now, do you all want to hear some of the wins [00:05:00] coming out of this settlement?

[00:05:02] Let’s go. The wins include restoring the ability of students and teachers to speak freely about LGBTQ people, families, and issues in the classroom as long as it’s not part of the official curriculum. The settlement states that the law does not prohibit books, musicals, or plays. featuring LGBTQ characters.

[00:05:28] The settlement reiterates that the law does not prohibit anti bullying guidance or resources aimed at improving the mental and physical health of LGBTQ students. The settlement clarifies that the law does not require the removal of safe space stickers or the elimination of safe spaces. And the settlement protects the GSA’s right gay straight alliances, gender sexuality [00:06:00] alliances as an extracurricular activity.

[00:06:04] Come on, we’re singing again. Celebrate these wins. Come on. Do, do, do, do, do. It’s a celebration. Let me tell you something. It is a must that we take a moment. We take a moment and celebrate. Celebrate these wins because they don’t just happen. They become real because you all gave money to support equality, Florida.

[00:06:32] Every campaign is because you all show up and support NCLR, right? The National Center for Lesbian Rights. These moments happen because you all are showing up. And y’all heard me say time and time again, I’m a church kid and I believe in time, talent, and treasure. And you all are giving your time, right?

[00:06:53] You’re sharing your talents. You’re spreading the word on social media, you’re telling a friend. [00:07:00] And because of that, these types of wins can happen. These are major wins. NCLR legal director Shannon Mentor said, it ensures that conversations about LGBTQ plus identities are not banned from the classroom, promoting a much needed culture of empathy and acceptance.

[00:07:19] This agreement is a monumental step forward in ensuring that every voice is heard, heard and valued in our schools and a critical victory in our ongoing fight for Floridians rights to proudly say gay. Last year, I had the honor of interviewing Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida, about what DeSantis was doing.

[00:07:42] And she told me about her theory called the slingshot effect. Here a little piece of our conversation. I feel like we’re in a decades long fight now to undo the things that a DeSantis and a Governor Abbott. are doing in their respective states. Do you feel the [00:08:00] same? Yes and no. Yes. In the sense that it’s going, it’s they’re doing deep and structural damage that’s going to take a long time to repair.

[00:08:10] Uh, they’ll be out of office and we’ll still be fixing the damage. But I also think again, as a student of history, I was naming the backlash that we’re experiencing. But there’s always a backlash to the backlash, and that’s where the most progress has ever been made. I think of it as the slingshot effect.

[00:08:32] They are, they are, you know, the progress we’ve been making, they are walking it backwards. And with each step, they think they are dragging us back to the, the time when I didn’t have an adult I could turn to. Right? When I was like so many young people, especially in the black community, trying to navigate, racism, homophobia, sexism, and feeling like there was no place where all of me could be.[00:09:00]

[00:09:01] But instead of us dragging, them dragging us backwards, they are creating in that slingshot, the dynamic tension that when we break their grip, we’re not just going to come back to where we were when they attacked us. We’re going to spring forward in the same way that their efforts to stop marriage equality arguably paved the way for marriage equality, because it compelled us all to ask, Where do we stand and what will we fight for?

[00:09:26] So So I think that, that this is painful, there’s a lot of harm that’s being inflicted, but history teaches me that as long as we do the work in the midst of the fight, on the other side of it, we are paving, we are laying the pavers on this road to a progress that will seem inevitable soon, even though it seems very far away right now.

[00:09:49] She’s been paving. And the tension on that slingshot eased a bit this past week, you know, and in a statement, Nadine said, this settlement is a giant [00:10:00] step toward repairing the immense damage. These laws and dangerous political rhetoric has inflicted on our families, our schools and our States. She also wants to make sure we give a special thank you to the brave plaintiffs.

[00:10:15] Right, their partners at family equality, the legal minds at Kaplan, Hecker and Fink LLP and the national center for lesbian rights. I also want to be clear that this law is still very much so on the books, but it’s just not as strong as it used to be. That is a win. That is how we begin to ease the tension on that slingshot.

[00:10:41] Okay. We got to win family. We got to win.

[00:10:48] For our next story today, I want to provide my perspective on the medical examiner’s report that was released in regards to how next Benedict died [00:11:00] this past week. The medical examiner released a summary report. Okay. It was just a brief summary outlining that next died from suicide. Now, last week I was riding in my car, listening to WBZ, our local NPR station, and this next Benedict report came across the airwaves.

[00:11:22] And I said to myself, Huh? I literally stared at my radio and immediately recalled the last time a Partial report came out and the police reported that neck didn’t die from the trauma they experienced in that bathroom from the attack. They literally reported that Nexus death was not related to the trauma they experienced, and then they walked that back because it didn’t make any sense.

[00:11:55] They walked it back saying that we all just misunderstood what they were saying and [00:12:00] that the medical examiner’s office had not ruled out the fight as causing or contributed. To nexus death and that people shouldn’t make assumptions either way, but that’s what y’all said, right? And so when I heard this come across my airways, I was like, this is part two of this same narrative.

[00:12:21] And so I came to the internet and others were questioning the report as well. V with under the desk news reported if that is in fact the case that next committed suicide due to. Benadryl and Prozac. Let me repeat that. That’s what the toxicology report is outlining. The drugs were Benadryl and Prozac, then it wouldn’t in fact be suicide.

[00:12:52] It would be an accidental overdose, which is different. So family, what we’re going to do is we’re [00:13:00] going to wait. Yes, we are going to wait for the full report, which is set to be released on March 27th. We’re also going to wait for the independent autopsy report and investigation that the family is having done.

[00:13:14] Yes, that’s what we’re going to do. Okay. Also, let me note a couple of other things. One, that people are calling for Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s state superintendent, to resign for his consistent and unwavering handling. hate campaign against trans youth, blood is on his hands and on the hands of all the politicians who have been on this anti trans political hate campaign for the last few years.

[00:13:37] They cannot and we cannot allow them to distance themselves from these moments. Their vocal and legislative hate gives permission to others to do the same. And it has absolutely permeated the culture to the point that three girls decided to physically harm Nex in a high school bathroom [00:14:00] in Oklahoma. I also want to report about the first school board meeting that took place in Owasso, Oklahoma since Nex’s death.

[00:14:09] Let me tell you, the parents showed up, the protesters showed up and disrupted this meeting because they’re saying they don’t have any faith or trust that this board is going to Sure. There’s not another incident like what happened the next. It got so wild in there. People had to be thrown out. Okay. So let me tell y’all something.

[00:14:29] We’re reporting on it here on the internet, but the people living in a way, so Oklahoma are fighting. You understand? And we’re going to be here to support them. Now is a perfect time to take a quick break. And when we come back, I’ll have some culture and entertainment news.

[00:14:49] If you’re hearing this, it means we didn’t sell this ad space. If you’re hearing this, it means running ads on our podcast actually can work. You see what I did there? You see this real [00:15:00] life example? You got an event? Do you have an organization? Do you got something you need to get the word out about? We got rates starting as low as 100!

[00:15:09] Check the link in our show notes for more information. Welcome back to the show family. Our first story of culture and entertainment is a celebration of life for David Mixner. David passed away on Monday at the age of 77, according to the Victory Fund. He was the first openly gay man to hold a public facing role in a presidential campaign.

[00:15:31] When he was asked to join former President Bill Clinton’s campaign’s National Executive Committee as an advisor. He then fought against former President Clinton when he passed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy for the military. We are all very familiar, right? The policy that banned LGBTQ folks from serving openly.

[00:15:51] In the military in 1993. And we know that that policy stood for 17 years. Well, [00:16:00] David spoke up then organized a protest outside the white house was arrested and had this to say, I just have to do what is right. I have buried too many friends to compromise. I owe it to them. I owe it to my partner who died four years ago.

[00:16:16] He doesn’t have a voice anymore, and I must speak for him. That’s what this is all about. David is also known for being a co founder of the Victory Fund, an advocacy organization exclusively supporting LGBTQ candidates since 1991. That’s right. Since 1991, the Victory Fund has helped thousands of LGBTQ plus candidates win local, state, and federal elections.

[00:16:45] David also was part of one of the first HIV AIDS protests outside of former president Reagan’s white house. He was arrested then too. Kelly Robinson, president of the human rights campaign said he was a champion for [00:17:00] equality and unwavering voice that spanned decades. From challenging discriminatory policies to influencing presidential campaigns, his work paved the way for a new political reality that will inspire generations.

[00:17:15] Honestly, I had never heard of David before he made his transition. So today I say, thank you, David. We will tell your story so future generations know you were here

[00:17:32] for our next culture and entertainment story. Y’all know we got to talk about the 35th annual GLAAD Media Awards, GLAAD Awards. LA edition, okay? My timeline was full of beautiful queer folks attending this star studded event. The gowns, the smiles, the swag. I was like, only the way the queers would do it, okay?

[00:17:52] Wayne Brady was the host and the ceremony took place at the Beverly Hilton in LA. Kate Hudson opened the night with her [00:18:00] first award show performance. Now, I didn’t attend, so I didn’t see it, but She was smiling, so I think it went well. Sharon Stone presented Niecy Nash with the Stephen F. Kozak Award, and you already know she rocked her speech, giving so much love to her wife, Jessica Betts.

[00:18:18] And one of the most poignant moments was when she said, let’s continue to fight. To normalize love. Yes. Oprah received the Vanguard award. Now the Vanguard award is presented to allies who have made a significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people and issues. She’s done over 150 shows throughout her career, centering LGBTQ stories.

[00:18:44] And so many were done when it was not acceptable to do right during her speech she shared about her brother, Jeffrey Lee, who passed at 29 due to complications from AIDS. A story I didn’t even know. [00:19:00] And it’s not one that she shares often, but it makes so much sense why she’s been such a comrade in our fight.

[00:19:09] Yellow jackets won, Ted Lasso won, RuPaul’s Drag Race won, Selling Sunset, Bottoms, and so many others. The award show celebrated 310 nominees across 33 categories. So when you hear people say, and I’ve said it too, there is more representation in media today than ever before. I mean it no matter what’s been happening politically, we are making a clear statement through art, digital, Media, art, film, television, movies, podcasting, animation, child, all of it.

[00:19:46] We are in all of it. The entire awards will be available to stream on Hulu starting on March 29th. Now glad did share some beautiful quotes on their social medias. Okay. From the night. And I want to share a couple with you here from [00:20:00] MJ Rodriguez. Oh, most importantly to all the trans youth out there who are bullied by hateful people in power, please do not be in fear.

[00:20:10] Most importantly, be you. You’ve got people like me and everyone here at GLAAD working to change the future for you. Now here from Ron Niswainer, executive producer of Fellow Travelers, which won for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series. If you’re out there and you’re somewhere in this country where you’re surrounded by people that tell you you are unspeakable, that you are not worth loving, I want you to come when you can and find your queer uncles and aunts and your brothers and sisters, and we will love you until you can love yourself.

[00:20:43] Until you can love yourself. So that’s the type of love and support I’m talking about. That is what this community brings. And so much of that is embodied in our last culture and entertainment story for today. And it is absolutely the most [00:21:00] special one to me this weekend. I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of the sisters and cinema media art center on the South side of Chicago.

[00:21:12] This moment. It’s special to me because Dr. Yvonne Wellbun is special to me. You may have seen my videos on social media about Ruth Ellis, right? Well, Yvonne is the filmmaker behind Living With Pride, Ruth Ellis at 100. She is also the person holding the largest archive of black women filmmakers in the world.

[00:21:39] And we just going to keep saying that until somebody else says it different, but let me tell you, she’s it. She’s also a mentor. A supporter and a friend. She literally inspires me and reminds me that you can in fact, make your dreams come true. You can bring what [00:22:00] starts in your imagination to life. One of the activities I attended was the press conference and ribbon cutting ceremony.

[00:22:10] Hear from Yvonne about how all of this started. As many of you know, this journey began over 30 years ago, when I was in film school, and I only knew the name of one African American woman director. And that was Julie Dash. I didn’t even know what she looked like. And when I asked my professors to help me find her, Other black women filmmakers, they were like, Hey, okay.

[00:22:34] So I knew that could not be true. And I set off on my journey to find my sisters. And I just love that. She knew that that just couldn’t be true. Right? So in 1997, Sisters in Cinema was founded as an online resource for and about African American women media makers. Today it is an established, successful [00:23:00] nonprofit with an inclusive mission to center and celebrate Black girls, women, and gender nonconforming media makers, providing programs designed to educate, raise visibility, and support and serve our communities.

[00:23:15] They envision a world. Where all Black girls, women, and gender nonconforming media makers and storytellers have equal opportunities to create and thrive. This media art center is such a beautiful space. When I walked in, I was just in awe. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to attend one of their fundraisers, which was like a walk in the neighborhood with sisters in cinema.

[00:23:40] And then the end of the walk, We got to walk through the space while it was under construction. And so, I remember what it looked like without the walls. When there were just studs in the wood. And so to see it come to life, I was just so blown away. By the [00:24:00] glass skylights, accented by the beautiful high ceilings.

[00:24:03] Ceilings, bright colored walls that welcomed you in television screens, telling their story, these breathtaking portraits of black women and gender nonconforming media makers that I had never heard of before. The media center hosts a cozy. It’s so cozy. It’s so Sexy 35 seat theater, a gallery archives, an exhibition room, a conference room, and a creative slash computer lab.

[00:24:38] Y’all, this place was built for and by us. And it is absolutely magnificent. During the press conference, many people said, Spoke, including former mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, who’s been a long time champion of this project. She said one of the most profound things anybody said all day. [00:25:00] Welcome to the house Yvonne built.

[00:25:04] Well, doesn’t that just say it all? I had the opportunity to chat with Yvonne and asked her what her hope was for the space. Here, what she had to say. Well, I would love for this space to be a place where people can for people to come to learn, learn about black women, uh, black women, media makers, and then learn how to be media makers.

[00:25:29] I should also say we support girls and gender non conforming media makers too. There’s free workshops, free classes, there’s a theater, archive space, portrait gallery. It’s just a fabulous space and everything we do here is free. That’s right. Everything she does is for you. Sisters in Cinema offers Sisters in Cinema Documentary Fellowship Program.

[00:25:53] They give grants and mentorship to filmmakers. They’ve launched the Black Lesbian Writers Room, which is an intentional [00:26:00] intergenerational space. Y’all, this is a sacred space and they still need our help to ensure that this space is here for many, many years to come. So if you can, please consider making a donation or bidding on an auction item to help support the CENSA.

[00:26:19] I plan on collaborating with the CENSA. Once those details are finalized, I’ll definitely be sharing them with you. We are all we got and we got to support spaces built for and by us. So of course I have included a link in the show notes where you can make that donation or bid on an auction item. Okay.

[00:26:38] Congratulations, Yvonne. And congratulations, sisters in cinema. Now y’all know it’s that time of the podcast where Anna drops a word because Anna’s always got a word. And family, I feel so good to be back. I was down, right? Y’all heard me last week. I did not sound quite like myself. I’m almost there. I’m not [00:27:00] 100%, but I’m about 92 percent there.

[00:27:03] And it feels so good to be back. Reporting on the news that matters to us and centering our stories. Being down for two weeks drove me to reevaluate so many of the goals I had set for myself for this year. I have honed in on a strong five. Okay. And that feels so good. And so today my word to you is don’t wait to reevaluate.

[00:27:27] Don’t wait to reevaluate. So often it’s always the beginning of the year. We’re setting these goals January 1st for what it’s going to be for the next 12 months. 12 months is a really long time and life’s be living. And sometimes the reevaluation happens now. I’m grateful that it happened in Q1. Okay. The pivot.

[00:27:49] We talk about pivoting all the time. In this moment, I challenge you to re evaluate. Do it as often as you need to. [00:28:00] Life will have you take a different direction. Okay? And don’t be scared by that. Lean into it. You’ve got the power to create your own destiny. And if you heard nothing else on this podcast today, you heard that if we fight, we can win.

[00:28:19] If you dream, you can bring that to reality. If you decide to put in the work and part of the work is reevaluating and pivoting when necessary. So I challenge you, I offer you the opportunity to do that in your own life, in your own work. Because you deserve it. Yes, you do. Till next time, family. Peace.[00:29:00]

[00:29:03] If you’ve enjoyed what you heard, rate and review us inside your favorite podcasting app. This podcast is written and produced by me, Anna Deshawn. Podcast editing by Ryan Woodhull and brought to you by E3 radio and distributed on the Qube. We are Queer News Done Right.

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