Tom Daley: Illegal to Be Me

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Since Tom Daley came out in a YouTube video nine years ago, he has become an outspoken advocate of LGBTQ+ rights. The diver, national treasure and five-medallist was a good choice, then, to present an examination of homophobia in Commonwealth countries, filmed in the months leading up to the Commonwealth  Games in Birmingham.

These “issue” documentaries often present us with the manufactured “journey” of a celeb, but in the case of Illegal to Be Me, Daley truly does change his views. Homosexuality is illegal in 35 of the 56 member states that make up the Commonwealth, Daley tells us, and he starts the film with the goal that such countries should be banned from hosting the competition. Then he speaks to LGBTQ+ athletes from the countries that would be affected by such a ban. Read more…

The documentary is sadly only available in the UK for now but if you’re interested you can watch an extensive interview with Tom about it above.

Why US schools are at the centre of trans rights

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In recent years, state legislatures in the US have introduced hundreds of bills targeting the rights of LGBTQ Americans. Many of those laws are focused in particular on the rights of transgender school children in public schools: what types of bathrooms they can use, whether their pronouns will be used, and whether they can participate in school sports. These laws are increasingly common in Republican-controlled states. Also, they may be violations of federal law.

This puts public schools in these states in a strange position: do they follow state laws that, under the Biden administration, could open them up to a federal civil rights investigation? Or do they ignore state law, and risk the state cutting their funding? Amid all that uncertainty, those who suffer most are the trans children caught up in the fight.

This video focuses on how that battle is playing out in Tennessee, the state that has introduced more anti-LGBTQ laws in 2022 than almost any other state. We looked at two of the laws that target transgender public school kids: one about bathrooms and one about participation in school sports. Those two issues have very different legal contexts, which you can read more about in the links below.

It has been *that* kind of week in American state senates

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Last week gay Missouri lawmaker Ian Mackey called out an anti-trans bill by State Rep. Chuck Basye in a moving speech that has been watched over 1.6 million times on TikTok since.

Meanwhile Michigan state senator Mallory McMorrow delivered an impassioned response after a Republican colleague accused her of supporting pedophilia by opposing “Don’t Say Gay” bills, reiterating a common right-wing talking point.

Florida student takes queer education into own hands

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High school GSA presidents continue to carry the entire LGBTQ+ community on their backs, as one high school student demonstrated in a viral video from this past weekend. After their teacher said he didn’t know what Stonewall is, Will Larkins decided to teach their U.S. history class themselves..

On Sunday, 17-year-old Will Larkins posted a short clip of themself educating their fourth period U.S. history class on the history of the Stonewall riots. This might be otherwise unremarkable if it wasn’t for the fact that Larkins attends Winter Park High School in Florida, the state that recently signed a so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law.

The law outright bans discussion of gender and sexuality in kindergarten through third grade classes, or “age-inappropriate” discussions of sexuality or gender at any educational level. And judging from the number of insane conservative replies to Larkins’ tweet, including accusations of pedophilia and grooming, it’s safe to say that “age-appropriate” discussion of LGBTQ+ issues amounts to none at all in the eyes of the proponents of the law.

Read on…