Celebrating QTPoC Love: An Appreciation of Janelle Monáe and Tessa Thompson

Earlier in April of this year, multi-hyphenate Janelle Monáe came out in a Rolling Stone interview, saying she has “been in relationships with both men and women,” and that she identifies as pansexual. Monáe’s sexual orientation been a source of speculation for quite some time, with many wondering if her friendship with actress Tessa Thompson is actually a secret romance. To everyone’s excitement, Thompson recently stated that she identifies as bisexual, and of Monáe, stated: "We love each other deeply. We’re so close, we vibrate on the same frequency."

Monáe and Thompson’s unabashed outness and love for one another, without outright declaring a romantic relationship, sends a powerful message to the young bisexuals and pansexual women of colour watching them. Too often, communities of colour make being queer a taboo, leading many queer brown kids into hiding.

Oftentimes, having to explicate the homophobia people of colour face can feel like throwing logs onto the fires of racism. You are either an example of your culture’s oppression or you become its single example of its queerness. Thompson and Monáe’s loving relationship, coupled with their pride in their respective identities validates to young queer people of colour that queerness and brownness are not mutually exclusive traits, and that finding home in yourself will get easier when you find other people who love you, for you.

Further reading:

Break The Mold (Net-A-Porter)

Janelle Monáe Frees Herself (Rolling Stone)

Premiere Of Paramount Pictures' "Annihilation" - Arrivals (Getty Images)

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

United States Supreme Court Uncertainty Could Weaken LGBTQ+ Rights

The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on June 27th made dramatic waves on both sides of the political spectrum. Appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, Kennedy had become the court’s regular “swing vote,” agitating Christian conservatives when he wrote the landmark same-sex marriage ruling in 2015.

Since then, however, Kennedy’s rulings were far from liberal. His vote to uphold Trump’s travel ban followed his vote a day earlier to approve racial gerrymandering in Texas, while another vote three weeks prior allowed a business to discriminate against LGBTQ+ customers. Now with the nomination of conservative United States Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy, conservatives are anticipating an opportunity to reshape the court and pave new conservative ground where Kennedy had previously blocked their path.

With a solidly conservative majority, the Supreme Court could affirm state laws that allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to reject applicants, including gay couples. In addition, Kavanaugh is not an LGBTQ+ ally, having been endorsed and celebrated by ultra-conservative and anti-LGBTQ+ advocacy groups like the Family Research Council. One thing is certain, however, Trump’s nominee is likely to give the conservatives a solid majority, meaning marginalized communities, especially the QTPoC community, will again be trapped in a game of constitutional hardball and uncertainty.

Further reading:

Brett Kavanaugh Has GOP Bona Fides, But a Surprising Record (Atlantic)

Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court (Washington Blade)

Trump's 'extreme' Supreme Court shortlist alarms LGBTQ advocates (NBC News)

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

UK Announces New Initiative to Outlaw Conversion Therapy

The British government has announced plans to outlaw gay conversion therapy as a part of a new comprehensive plan titled the “LGBT Action Plan.”  The initiative is a sweeping effort to increase the quality of life of all LGBTQ+ citizens in the UK.

The new initiative will consider "legislative and non-legislative options to prohibit promoting, offering or conducting conversion therapy." The £4.5 million initiative is in response to a national survey of LGBTQ+ citizens that found that 2% of the 108,000 respondents had undergone conversion therapy while 5% had been offered it. The survey results also provide insight into the discrimination faced by lesbians, gays, bisexual and trans people in Great Britain, with more than two-thirds of the participants reporting that they avoid holding hands with a same-sex partner in public out of fear that people will react negatively.

While the government did not offer a specific definition of "conversion therapy," its report said the practice, "can range from pseudo-psychological treatments to, in extreme cases, surgical interventions and 'corrective' rape." The government plan includes appointing a national LGBT health advisor, extending an anti-homophobic bullying program in schools, and improving the recording and reporting of LGBT hate crimes.

After years of harrowing abuse under the guise of guidance and medical therapy, it is touching to know that LGBTQ+ Brits could have a brighter future to look forward to - in the words of Prime Minister, Theresa May,  “No one should ever have to hide who they are, or who they love.”

Further reading:

LGBT Action Plan (UK Government Equalities Office)

UK government to ban 'gay conversion therapy' (CNN)

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page. 

 

Toronto Pride Organizers Take Stand Against New Premier

On June 7th, the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario won a majority government, taking power for the first time in 15 years. The day after his historic win, Premier-elect Doug Ford announced he would participate in this year’s Toronto Pride Parade--only if police are allowed to join the march, too. Uniformed police officers have not been welcome at Toronto’s Pride Parade since 2016, after the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter spoke out about the harm that policing institutions have on black LGBTQIA folks and other marginalized groups.

Previous Premier, Kathleen Wynne, was Canada's first gay premier, and she marched in the Pride parade every year she was in office. Alternatively, in 2014, Ford made controversial remarks about the Pride Parade, describing the protest as an event where "middle-aged men with pot bellies" ran down the street "buck naked." Ford ran on a socially conservative platform and was actively supported by Charles McVety, one of Ontario’s most virulent anti-LGBT activists, so it is ultimately unsurprising to see his pro-police stance regarding the Pride Parade.

The good news? Toronto Pride has no plans of changing their police-free parade policy to satiate Ford.  

 

The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page.