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

family. It’s your favorite queer radio personality. Anna Deshaun, and [00:00:30] this is Queer News. Your favorite weekly news pod where race and sexuality meet politics, culture, and entertainment. First things first family. I want to invite you to drop me your queer news tips. Okay. The queer news tip line is open always, and you can get the link in the show notes.

I want to report on stories that don’t make the news or a blog. So many things are happening locally and I’d love to amplify them here. [00:01:00] So send me your queer news tips. Okay. Q Crew, what’s going on? Have you watched the interview with Jujubee? Have you watched it? Well, I know you have it because I’ve seen a number of them.

But don’t worry. If you haven’t, you missed out on your exclusive moment and now it’s open to everybody. So family go subscribe to our YouTube channel and get plugged in. That’s right. We have a YouTube channel. You’re going to hear me talk more about our YouTube channel. Go check it out. Go subscribe. E3 radio, do the notifications thing.

Y’all know how this works and the conversation with Juju Bay. We talk about [00:01:30] our ancestral connections. We talk about the power of dreams. We talk about. Our spiritual journeys and how it informs our everyday lives. We also talk about Juju’s adventures on the hit Hulu show, living for the dead, the relaunch of her podcast, a little Juju podcast and the upcoming release of her first book, the book of Juju.

This is definitely a special interview with a powerful black queer woman, making an impact. By living out her call. And I think we can all learn a little bit of something from Juju. [00:02:00] So I’ve got a lot more interviews on the way. Okay. So Q crew be on the lookout for your exclusive drops and family. Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel, hit the notifications button, so you’ll know when those interviews become available for you.

Also, also, if you don’t know about the Q crew, let me help you out. The Q crew helps us supplement the cost of this podcast, hosting, editing, marketing, PR, travel, child, all of it. So if you believe in the work we do, if you believe LGBT. LGBTQ stories need to be amplified. If you love and [00:02:30] respect how I report on the news and tell our stories, join the Q crew, a link is in the show notes.

Now for the news. Our top news stories for the week are updates on a couple of stories I’ve been following. The stories of Next Benedict and Chevy Hill. We also need to share news about Alex Franco, a trans man who was murdered in Utah. In politics, let’s celebrate another win. family. Celebrate [00:03:00] a win. Come on.

Yeah. I’m just going to keep singing. That might be the new theme song when there’s a win, especially in politics. Okay. Now this win comes as over 40 anti LGBTQ writers did not, I said did not get passed in the recent spending bill that passed to avoid a government shutdown. In culture and entertainment, two trans women are getting some form of justice.

I have to show some love to Jared Hill and Travelle Anderson for winning an NAACP image award. And [00:03:30] Amari, a black trans woman gets a ticket to the next round of American Idol. We got a lot today, family. Let’s go.

Family, first up are our top stories, which are updates. And I really love this about the work that we get to do here is that I get to tell y’all the story, but then I also get to update you on these stories because here, queer news is always first. Always. So we’ll start with Next Benedict. This [00:04:00] past week, The Tulsa County District Attorney, Steve Kutzweiler, at a press conference announced that they will not, that’s right, they will not be pursuing charges in the death of Next Benedict.

I’ll quote him here. He says, based upon the investigation of the Owasso Police Department, Police department. I am in the agreement with their assessment that the filing of juvenile charges is not warranted. He went on to say from all the evidence gathered, this fight was an instance [00:04:30] of mutual combat. I do not have a reasonable belief that the state of Oklahoma could sustain its burden of proof.

Beyond a reasonable doubt, if charges were presented for prosecution family, I’ll say this in this upcoming week, March 27th, the full medical examiner’s report is set to be released. We will wait to read that report and come back with an update again. Next week, so much is going on with this case so much back and forth.

And at the end of the days, [00:05:00] I feel like common sense and accountability is being missed here. Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD said this. Time and time again, leaders in Oklahoma have showed they don’t have value for Nexus Life or the lives of other indigenous and two spirit transgender, not gender non conforming students.

Everyone from Superintendent Walters and the Owaiso High School to the unaccredited. Since 2009, State Medical Examiner’s Office, the District [00:05:30] Attorney, and the OASO Police Department have failed Next Benedict and failed us all. It is critical that an independent investigation is completed and the truth about what happened to Next and what all marginalized youth in Oklahoma schools endure is brought to light.

We will never stop seeking justice for next, and we will never stop holding leaders accountable to serving their communities fairly and with compassion. So as more news [00:06:00] unfolds around next Benedict’s death, we’ll keep giving you updates here on this podcast. For our next top story, we have a contributor joining us for the very first time.

I told y’all I was listening to what you said in the survey, and I agree. We need some contributors to this podcast and we need some other voices. I know some brilliant journalists across the country. And so today, please welcome Darian Aaron, a contributor who’s joining us out of Atlanta And he actually had the [00:06:30] opportunity to attend Chevy’s funeral services.

Let’s listen to his report. Family, this is Darian Aaron, director of local news, US South at GLAAD. My pronouns are he, him on March 11th. I had the honor of paying my final respects for our brother, righteous Torrance TK, also known as Chevy Hill. During his funeral service at the Richard R. Robinson Funeral Home in his hometown of Macon, Georgia.[00:07:00]

Up until, this point, there were very few details known about the circumstances that led to Chevy’s death on February 28th at his East Point, Georgia home. I went to his service not only to pay my final respects, but as a journalist and as a member of Atlanta’s LGBTQ plus community, I went to get answers.

I went to learn the facts and I had an opportunity to speak with his mother, Verna Hill Wilcox, who [00:07:30] really shed light on the final moments that led to TK’s passing. The service, as one would expect, was a very somber, sad occasion. But it was also filled with, uh, an overflow crowd of people who loved, supported, and affirmed Chevy while he was alive.

Uh, Sebastian Smith, Organizing Director at the National Center for Transgender Equality. delivered the eulogy. [00:08:00] And Sebastian said something that I don’t think I will ever forget. He said, we think we all have time. And he spoke about Chevy contacting him two weeks prior to his death, asking about his schedule and asking When they could meet up, Sebastian said, Lord knows if I’d known what I know today, I wouldn’t have delayed.

A common refrain in black church circles is that God can use anybody. Smith and Ford mourn us to not miss your blessing or the message God [00:08:30] has for you. Because it comes in a package that you did not expect, or it arrives from an unlikely messenger. Wilson tells me that T. K. and his partner, Terry Wilson, were invested in stabilizing Jalen, as he floated between his mother’s Atlanta residence and their East Point home.

The couple often perches on the beach. Clothing, shoes and even a uniform for Jalen to start a new job. Wilcox says that on the evening of February 28th, TK and Jalen got into a verbal altercation [00:09:00] after Jalen returned from using the family vehicle after four hours. Wilcox says he returned with an attitude, and her son TK soon found himself on the opposite end of Jaylen’s gun.

Wilcox says that TK had every right to be angry, to tell Jaylen to get out of the house, that no, they would no longer tolerate the disrespect. And when they were outside of the house, Wilcox wonders why Jaylen simply didn’t just leave. [00:09:30] No, he had to have one last act of defiance, she said. Friends and family remember TK as a giving man, a selfless man, a man with a big personality and an even bigger heart.

Jalen Hill is a fugitive still on the run. If you have any information about his whereabouts, you’re urged to contact the East Point, Georgia Police Department.[00:10:00]

Our last top story of the day, Alex Franco, we speak your name today. Alex was a 21 year old trans man who got into a vehicle where he thought they were friends of friends. They were going to hang out. It’s reported. He gets into this vehicle. He’s looking to buy a gun, but in fact, the friends of friends, we’re looking to rob him.

We don’t know what happened inside that car. [00:10:30] But his girlfriend reports hearing a gunshot. She heard the gunshot. She ran outside the home. The car sped away. She actually ran after the vehicle. Made it to the end of the block. She couldn’t catch it. Someone called her and they called the police. She began tracking Alex’s phone through the location tracker.

It wasn’t long that they had turned that off.

Early Tuesday morning, Alex’s [00:11:00] body was found in a remote area of Utah.

The latest news reports that three teenage boys have been arrested in association with the murder of Alex. Two are 17 and one is 15 years old. His grandfather wrote a touching post on Facebook about how Alex cared for him and loved him and how he was so proud that he transitioned. Because before his [00:11:30] transition, he felt really lost and tried to harm himself.

But he was so full of life and so happy now. His family also held a memorial and a candlelight vigil for him. And it just broke my heart to see how many people loved him and that he was no longer here. So today, family, we speak Alex Franco’s name. Now in politics, we’re going to celebrate. Okay. Sing with me now.

[00:12:00] Celebrate the wins. Come on. Doom, doom, doom, doom. It’s a celebration. Yeah, I made that song up last week and I’m just going to stick with it because it feel good to me. But this week we’re celebrating the win that 40 anti LGBTQ writers did not make it into the spending bill. that avoided another government shutdown.

Now this often happens, right? 70 percent of the spending bill is going to defense. Okay. [00:12:30] There’s wars happening all across the world and the U S is spending all of the money. Okay. On that. Let’s be very clear. But as you start to drill down from the trillions to the billions to the millions, you begin to get to these earmarks, right?

And these writers that end up in these bills. And this is where legislators can say, Hey, I got this pass for my people. I got this pass for my people. When at the end of the day, everyone’s trying to avoid a government shutdown. So this is when people have leverage. And so the Republicans felt. Like they could [00:13:00] put in all of this anti LGBTQ legislation and these writers into this bill because the Democrats were going to be so committed to avoiding this government shutdown.

Well guess what? They didn’t fold. The Democrats did not fold. These 40 plus anti LGBTQ writers did not get passed. And I want to thank Erin in the morning, if you’re not familiar with her blog. Please go follow it. I’ve included a link in the show notes because she does some great reporting about politics and anti trans, [00:13:30] anti LGBTQ legislation.

And I got so much information from her while doing my research. And this is a win. It’s a win. The only one that did pass was that you can’t fly a pride flag over foreign embassies. That was the only one that passed. Now, how folks have gotten around this in the past is that they’ll shine rainbow lights, maybe onto a building.

You see what I’m saying? Uh, and so [00:14:00] that’s not a big one. That’s not a big one. Some of the ones they tried to pass. Let me tell you a couple. One, they tried to defund any hospital that sells or distributes drugs that would disrupt the onset of puberty or sexual development for those under 18. They also tried to pass another rider that would bar funding towards any surgical procedures or hormone therapy for the purpose of gender affirming care.

So do you see what they were trying to do there? And it didn’t pass. [00:14:30] So what we’re going to do, celebrate the win. Come on. Doom, doom, doom, doom. Yo, I got to tickle myself over here. Okay. All right. Now let’s take a quick break and when we get back, culture and entertainment news is on the way.

If you’re hearing this, it means we didn’t sell this [00:15:00] 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 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 a hundred dollars.

Check the link in our show notes for more information. Family, welcome back to the show. I want to start culture and entertainment with two culture stories that give me really, really mixed feelings. But also [00:15:30] really important to report on because there is some justice to share and I’m kind of leaning when I say justice But there is some justice Okay, there are two trans women Raina Hernandez and Asia Davis who were murdered Raina was murdered earlier this year and Asia was murdered last year and now in both cases They have suspects in custody for their murders From me [00:16:00] When I read about these two stories, I aligned these in culture because it feels like a culture shift.

Two years ago, when I started this podcast, these cases never had a suspect in custody. I don’t care how much time went by, it never felt like people really cared. Like people were really working on their cases. Well, here are two where that narrative is different [00:16:30] for Raina. They found it was her long time partner of 30 years, y’all 30 years.

It’s reported that their relationship was filled with domestic violence and essentially ended up taking her life. For Asia, the detectives didn’t have much to work with. I saw the video footage of the suspect running from the hotel room. You really could not make out his face, but over nine [00:17:00] months, the detectives put together a case and now they have a suspect in custody.

Now they aren’t sharing the details as to why he killed Asia. Because they are saying they don’t want to jeopardize the case going forward. But I will say this family, it feels like a shift. It feels like there’s a little shift. And I spoke about this on my TikTok live, and I’m going to go live on TikTok a little more regularly.

So if you’re on there, follow, check [00:17:30] me out, tap into the lives when I announce them. But I was referencing the slingshot theory. And for anybody that watched and listened to the interview I did with Nadine Smith, the E. D. of Equality Florida, she talks about the slingshot theory. How what’s happening today and what’s been happening over the last few years, right?

This concerted effort by Republicans, right? And all this anti LGBTQ legislation feel like they’re taking us back. We’re going backwards. Feel like we’re going [00:18:00] backwards, right? Imagine a slingshot, right? But what happens is they pull us so far back that when that slingshot lets go, we end up further ahead than we were before they started trying to move us backwards, right?

So last week, when I reported around the settlement in Florida, right, and pulling back some of the layers of that don’t say gay legislation, you feel like the tension is breaking a little bit, right? off of that slingshot. And so then when I start seeing stories where people are actually in custody for murdering trans women, it feels [00:18:30] like some of the tension is loosening up on that slingshot.

Let me tell y’all something, Nadine Smith will give you some hope, okay? And I want y’all to hold on to a little bit of that hope in the midst of all other things that are happening inside of our community today. You feel me? Yeah. For our next story, I want to know, have you heard of the book, Historically Black Phrases?

Yes? Then I’m sure you have the book on your shelves. [00:19:00] No? Well, if that’s your answer, let me tell you all about it. Because It recently won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. And as far as Black folks are concerned, the NAACP awards might as well be the Emmys. Okay. They are our Oscars, period.

And this book is authored by Jarrett Hill and Tre’vell Anderson. Both are Black, both are queer, both are authors, journalists, and hosts of the [00:19:30] award winning podcast, Fanti. They recently sunset that show and everybody is still very sad about that situation. And we also understand, okay, now this book, Historically Black Phrases.

It’s a fun and thoughtful dictionary of black language. You didn’t know you need it. Okay. It is a love letter to the black community and the ways it drives culture. Now some of the phrases in this here book, I ain’t one of your little friends. [00:20:00] I can’t tell you how many times I heard that. Okay. No cap. You got some sugar in your tank.

That is very popular in the black community, especially in the South. Okay. Another phrase, I ain’t going to hold you. But when someone says that, you know, you about to get held. You about to get held real tight. Okay. So just hold on. Uh huh. They also talk about code switching. This book is 300 pages of interviews.

and examples of [00:20:30] pop culture moments. I am telling this story because Jared and Travelle are black. They are queer. They won a freaking NAACP image award. And honestly, y’all need to go buy this book. Okay. Go buy the book. A link is in the show notes and I want to tell them officially on this here podcast.

Congratulations. And now for our final story today, family, it’s a feel good one. Okay. Now I ain’t gonna [00:21:00] lie. I didn’t even know American Idol was still on television. I am not kidding. But when this story came across my feed from LGBTQ nation, I was like, this is pretty dope. And I’m going to combine it with Anna’s got a word.

Cause y’all know Anna’s always got a word. So. Amari is a 28 year old waitress from Indiana of all places, okay? She shows up looking fabulous, and she sings Britney Spears song, Toxic. She put [00:21:30] her own little spin on it, okay? It was an acoustic situation with a guitar, and she was singing over it. It was quite lovely.

She even did this mouth trumpet situation that was pretty unique. And when she got done, Katy Perry was like, that was great. And I want to hear another song, something that speaks to who you are. Amari paused for a minute. She looked at the musician and asked, do you know, she used to be mine by Sara Bareilles?

He said, yes. [00:22:00] And then Katy Perry said, Oh, that song. Tell me more. Essentially. Amari went on to share that she’s a trans woman. And I want to quote her. She said, it’s normal to lose a lot of people. I’m not mad at them. I understand. I don’t expect people to understand everything. I just want to love everybody.

She also shared how she misses some of her family members and how she sometimes she’s really conflicted, even though she loves the life that she’s living today. And [00:22:30] Katy Perry kept digging and learning more. Essentially, Amari sings this beautiful song and this beautiful rendition of she used to be mine.

And I really want to leave this point with you all today that it’s okay, not to be perfect. And that’s really a lot for this Virgo to say, okay, because perfection is what I seek every single day. Something that I know is Absolutely impossible. And yet I want to share with [00:23:00] y’all and speak to myself and say that sometimes just waking up and showing up is enough that that is enough.

I believe that all of our journeys are divinely ordered. Okay. And it comes with mistakes. It comes with missteps, it comes with failures and it comes with imperfection. And yet it is all still divinely ordered. So I want y’all also to know Amari got two yeses. So she moved on to the next round. [00:23:30] Okay. And so I wish her the best of luck.

And I want to leave you all with the song that she sang courtesy of American idols, YouTube. Okay. And I hope it gives you a little inspiration and until next week, family. Peace.

It’s not simple to say that most days don’t recognize me, but these shoes [00:24:00] and this apron, that place and its patrons have taken more than I gave them.

It’s not easy to know. I’m not anything like I used to be, although it’s true. I was never attention’s sweet center. I still remember [00:24:30] that girl. She’s imperfect, but she tries. She is good, but she lies. She is hard on herself. She is broken and won’t ask for help. But it used to [00:25:00] be mine. It used to be mine.


She’s imperfect, but she’s kind. She is lonely most of the time. [00:25:30] She is all of this mixed up in vain. She is gone. She used to be mine. If[00:26:00]

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.

Transcript – News updates on Nex Benedict and Chevy Hill, Alex Franco we speak your name, and congratulations to Jarrett Hill & Tre’vell Anderson for their NAACP Image Award win – March 25, 2024

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