Tumblr is always dying

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The mainstream narrative has declared Tumblr dead for years. Last week, a leaked memo finally revealed the site’s plans to scale down its operations—but its art, fandoms, and inside jokes rage on.

There’s an image that’s repeatedly appeared on my Tumblr dash in the past few days: a screengrab from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia originally captioned, “Everybody’s dying, bitch. Let’s get you some fruit,” in which a Tumblr user with the handle “toxiczombie” has replaced “everybody’s” with the words “Tumblr’s always.” As of this writing, it has a quarter-million likes and reblogs. The posting date: November 18, 2018.

Off the top of my head, I couldn’t remember exactly why my fellow Tumblr users were predicting the platform’s death in November 2018. The adult-content ban, a monumental event in the site’s history that undeniably altered its trajectory, wouldn’t be announced until a few weeks later and implemented a few weeks after that.

A bit of digging revealed the post was likely related to the ban’s precursors: when the Tumblr iOS app suddenly vanished from the App Store with suggestions it was related to “child pornography issues” and when a rash of blogs, many of them explicitly NSFW, were deleted without warning overnight.

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News Roundup *89

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Whether it was queer candidates or ballot questions about LGBTQ+ issues, yesterday’s election day saw a lavender wave throughout the United States.

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The end of a nightmare for queer people in Poland

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Finally some good news for a change. Out of Poland of all places. The anti-LGBTQ+ Law and Justice party, which has governed Poland since 2015, has not won enough votes in the country’s parliamentary election to form a majority government, Associated Press reported.

Bart Staszewski, a Polish LGBTQ+ activist, celebrates as Poland finally overthrows the anti-queer right-wing Law and Justice Party.

The election, which garnered a record turnout of a projected 72.9%, is predicted to see the right-wing Law and Justice party win more seats than any other party, but not enough seats to be able to form a majority.  According to exit polls, Law and Justice will obtain 200 parliamentary seats, while three opposition parties are predicted to win a combined 248 seats.

Donald Tusk, former European Union president and now leader of Civic Coalition, which won 31.6 per cent of votes according to exit polls, said the predicted results mark “the end of the bad time”. “Poland won. Democracy has won. We have removed them from power. This result might still be better, but already today we can say this is the end of the bad time, this is the end of Law and Justice rule” Tusk told supporters.

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News Roundup *88

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U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman, seen here seemingly standing on the tail of a service dog, is blind to the often life-threatening persecution queer people face in some countries and says they don’t deserve asylum.

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News Roundup *87

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Bulgaria has been ordered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to establish a legal framework acknowledging same-sex relationships. 

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Heartstopper is the tamest queer media you can imagine. It still gets hit with bans.

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The Heartstopper book ban proves once again that you can sanitise queer content all you want, make it wholesome and devoid of any sex to please the straights, you will never live up to their idea of “good gays.” Because good gays, to them, are invisible and full of shame.

The graphic novel series Heartstopper will no longer be available in the teen section of a Mississippi public library after a group of parents claimed the books were pornographic. The Heartstopper books, which tell the story of two teen boys who fall in love, were removed from the teen section of the Columbia-Marion County public library and placed in the adult section after complaints.

The library moved the graphic novels from the teen section after a meeting on 9 August in which a group of parents claimed the books were pornographic, with one reportedly claiming homosexuals were using the series to “recruit” children into the LGBTQ+ community.

One mother also reportedly cited 14 other books that they found “objectionable”, asking for the board to remove them from the teen section in order to “protect our children”, The Mississippi Free Press reported. Other titles described as objectionable included Dress Codes for Small Towns, by Courtney Stevens and Luna, by Julie Anne Peters, both of which have LGBTQ+ themes.

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News Roundup *86

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A beloved California store owner was shot and killed during a dispute over a LGBTQ+ Pride flag outside her business. Community members honoured her life with a memorial filled with flowers and rainbow flags outside the store. 

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American & Russian Christians export queerphobia to Europe

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A growing network of foreign organisations are pouring hundreds of millions of euros into “culture war” groups campaigning to roll back LGBTQ+ rights across Europe, European lawmakers have warned.

In a resolution published earlier this month, the European Parliament raised the alarm about foreign interference in all democratic processes in Europe, pointing out that most of the foreign funding originates from Russia and the US.

This foreign interference, coupled with disinformation and numerous attacks perpetrated by malicious foreign actors, is predicted to increase in the lead-up to the European Parliament elections in 2024, becoming more sophisticated in nature. MEPs flagged that at least 50 organisations now fund anti-gender activities — opposing what they call gender ideology.

“Europe is seeing a growing number of anti-gender movements, specifically targeting sexual and reproductive health, women’s rights and LGBTIQ+ people,” the EU parliamentary report read.

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Why so many people who abstain from masturbation end up suicidal

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Derrick grew up playing football, basketball, and video games with his friends. He wasn’t monitored when it came to his electronics use, his mom worked late, and he started watching porn when he was 11. His use slowly grew, from age 13 onward, until he was watching almost two hours every weekday after school. He always felt guilty about it, and his traditional Christian-school upbringing, where he was told masturbation was a sin, didn’t help. “Whenever I was bored, I’d just masturbate,” he recalled.

The shame never went away, and he started trying to cut down on masturbation before college. He soon discovered NoFap, a popular subreddit and “movement” where members are encouraged to never “fap,” an internet slang term for masturbation. Members of the movement, which now encompasses everything from websites and message boards to support groups and authors selling e-books, celebrate and congratulate each other on their streaks of abstinence.

Derrick was told by NoFappers that porn was not only bad for him and would make him weaker, but that he was supporting human trafficking by watching it. He was exposed to ideas like semen retention, proponents of which promised that not ejaculating for weeks and months would give him increased confidence, more success with women, more energy, and less anxiety. Occasionally, he “relapsed” and started masturbating again. And when he did, things got bad. He recalls one incident particularly vividly.

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News Roundup *85

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In conjunction with its crackdown on the rights of same-sex parents, the Italian government has begun retroactively stripping same-sex parents of their legal connection to their children.

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