Queer & Present – July 2017

July 31, 2017 in inQueery

Hello and welcome to Queer & Present!  Here is my take on a few pieces of LGBTQIA+ news that made headlines in July.

Local magic

On the local level, a group called Queer Magic for the Resistance is providing support, magic, and street healing at rallies and protests. Started this year, the Oakland-based group has provided first aid and emotional response for Antifa activists at the #DefendTheBay rally, provided tinctures and herbal teas at the #MiloAtCal demonstration, and has held meditation circles at the Alameda County Court. Vanessa, one of the cofounders of Queer Magic for the Resistance, stated its purpose in an interview with Wear Your Voice as this: “Queer Magic for the Resistance began in early 2017 out of a pressing need we saw for a contingent of queer medics, artists, and healers who could, for example, provide supplies for and treat stab wounds during street demonstrations; hold space for emotional first aid during confrontations with police; and weave and paint and sing and dance a powerful healing resistance.”

It is great to see a group focused on healing the resistance. Both experiencing and fighting oppression is exhausting, damaging, and emotionally draining; a group like this is important because without some sort of healing or rest, the resistance might begin to feel burnt out.

 

Michigan woman sues Planet Fitness for being trans inclusive

Yvette Cormier is taking Planet Fitness to the Michigan State Supreme Court because of its trans inclusive policies. After complaining about seeing a gender-nonconforming person in the women’s locker room, Cormier lost her membership which she claims is a violation of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination against someone for their “religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status in employment, housing, education and access to public accommodations.”

I’m not sure how she was discriminated against based on any of those criteria. However, I can see that Planet Fitness’ ‘no judgement’ motto was being compromised. Though she said “I didn’t go out to specifically bash a transgender person that day… This is about me and how I felt unsafe. I should feel safe in there,” I’m pretty sure that she was the person making the locker room unsafe. There have been zero (0) reported cases of transgender people attacking others in public restrooms, however, the National Center for Transgender Equality reported that “almost 60 percent of transgender Americans have avoided using public restrooms for fear of confrontation, saying they have been harassed and assaulted.” Hm. Anyway, all the bathroom controversy is tired, it’s so so simple to let people use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender.

 

Korean Queer Culture stands against opposition

South Korea’s 18th annual Queer Culture Festival happened on July 14th. Several hundred people attended the festival, which featured live music and speeches from several foreign ambassadors. Unfortunately, this year, like past years, a large Christian group set up across the street from the festival and protested the event. They danced, sang, and yelled homophobic chants into microphones. According to The Nation,  “pride parades have met with varying degrees of opposition in many nations, but South Korea stands out with its unusually aggressive, well-organised church-led campaigns.” And these campaigners have the support of most of the people– about two-thirds of the population does not believe in gay rights or marriage.

However, the growing popularity of such events (the festival only garnered 50 attendees in its first year) and the increasing visibility of queer people is on track to change the culture to a more accepting one. Youngshik Bong, a researcher on gay rights, said “We are witnessing a very positive generational change, and so now sexual minorities are being advocated for by their own members. That’s the most important development.” It’s really important. And really brave. My love and support goes out to everyone who attended.

 

Amelia Henry is a Staff Contributor for InQueery.