Queer Notes: May 2024

May 15, 2024

by Elise

Public outcry led by students and a Change.org petition created by Trisha Comstock, mother of two Cumberland Valley School District students, restored an appearance by Gay actor Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock) for May 22. In April, the school district in Pennsylvania had voted unanimously to cancel his appearance and the entire assembly at a middle school because they didn’t want Pancholy to “impose” his lifestyle on students. Among those objecting to Pancholy was Kelly Potteiger, a member of the reactionary anti-Queer group Moms for Liberty. Pancholy didn’t understand why people are afraid of his activism, which is about, in his words, “Let all young people know that they’re seen. To let them know that they matter.” His children’s book The Best at It is about a Gay Indian-American boy’s experiences of being bullied in a small Midwest town.


Queer African non-binary human rights advocate from Rwanda. Photo: Sunshine Fionah Komusana, CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

Great Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak signed the so-called Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill. Also known as the Rwanda scheme, it threatens to deport migrants to Rwanda starting in July. Already, though, one person was voluntarily deported. Trade unions representing government workers have promised to file legal challenges. Sunak has called Rwanda safe, which it definitely is not for LGBTQ+ people and other groups. Gender transition and adoption by Queer people are illegal; gender-affirming care is restricted; employment is not protected and conversion therapy is legal. Great Britain is in violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention, of which it is a signatory, which bans member countries from deporting refugees and asylum seekers to countries hostile to them. The UN, Amnesty International, Liberty, Refugee Council and Freedom From Torture all decried the bill. Sunak admits that the new law is to deter migrants from attempting to reach the UK in the first place.


Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed the “Promoting inclusive learning standards and instructional materials in public school” law. It requires that LGBTQ+ curricula be included in the state’s public schools. Their history, contributions and perspectives, and those of other marginalized groups, will be taught. Washington joins California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, Nevada and Oregon in including teaching about minorities.


Marielle Franco, August 2016. Photo: Mídia NINJA, CC BY-SA 2.0

These are three extraordinary support groups for 2SLGBTQ+ in Latin America, a region that has experienced great progress in Queer rights. Casa Frida, in Mexico City, provides support to 2SLGBTQ+ people fleeing violence and discrimination in their home nations. Shelter, legal support, psychosocial and medical assistance are among the forms of support. Fundación Sergio Urrego has Colombia’s sole suicide prevention hotline for 2SLGBTQ+ people, at 3117668666, in addition to online resources for migrants and violence prevention. Brazil’s Casa Marielle Franco provides shelter for Queer people experiencing or likely to experience violence. It was founded in 2019, a year after the assassination of Councilwoman Franco, a Black Lesbian feminist socialist who spoke out against police violence and racism and led the opposition to land seizure legislation.


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