It’s still about bathrooms in American government

Who was surprised? #45 has started rolling back transgender protection. President Obama had introduced guidelines only in May stating transgender students can use toilets and changing rooms that match their chosen, not birth, gender identity in their school. By revoking these guidelines, it’s now up to individual stats and schools to decide, creating a postcode lottery of protection.

This is the first act made by the White House against the LGBTQ communities and strengthens states like Texas and their proposed transphobic laws despite clear evidence of the economic ruin it will cause. Caitlyn Jenner, the vocal transgender Republican supporter was surprised that #45 broke his flimsy promise to the LGBTQ community. Inclusion isn’t just important, it is life saving, as shown by a decrease in young suicide attempts since same-sex marriage was legalised.

 

Church of England votes to be more inclusive

In the middle of the month, the Church of England’s governing body met. It’s made up of Bishops (senior church leaders), Vicars (local church leaders) and laity (church members). They narrowly decided not to take note of a report by the Bishops on sexuality which maintained ‘the church must stand against homophobia’, but cannot bless same sex relationships, let alone marriage. The vote sent a clear message that the report does not go far enough and church leaders have already said what they’ll do next to bring a ‘radical inclusion’ into the church.

Unity of the Church of England and global anglican communion is exceptionally important to its leaders. To those outside the church, it must look like letting homophobes block progress and prove the church is irrelevant. Whether the Church of England introduces same sex marriage in the next few decades (it won’t be quick) matters because

  1. Some young people still go to church. They need to hear about inclusion.
  2. Churches are pretty buildings that same sex couples may want to get married in
  3. Many local churches run foodbanks, homeless shelters, coffee mornings. They are physical spaces at the centre of the community. What they say, and if they stay open can again be life or death.

You can watch the whole two hour debate on BBC iPlayer, which included this speech from young activist Lucy Gorman.

Choose or ditch the label?

Three big studies were reported this month. Here’s the headlines to take away from each of them:

 

Don’t read Camilla Long’s review of Moonlight for The Sunday Times (it’s behind a paywall so you probably can’t anyway). I lost respect for her valid criticisms of the film for her sheer ignorance claiming the story of a young gay black man in Miami ‘has been told countless times, against countless backdrops.’ Instead, read Josh Lee’s article on the Oscar-worthy (soon to be Oscar-winning) film reflecting his own identity.

#QueerSOS

Last night I went to my first LGBTQ-anything in Southend-on-Sea, the hometown I’ve lived in for 27 year. Local performance and community artist Scottee brought queer voices together round a takeaway to discuss ‘Is Southend Homophobic?’ I was reminded that change and visibility happens when people come together and make it happen. That’s why Manchester is planning the UK’s first LGBT retirement home, why Greg Owen has saved lives with a dramatic drop in new HIV infections and why UK Black Pride started (with it turns out a trip to Southend). We didn’t achieve any of that last night, but as our town’s voices and organisations join together, let’s see what happens.

Follow me on Twitter @JoeyKnock for more #LGBTQProgress news throughout the week.