In spite of it being Pride Month, Republicans aren’t making it easy for LGBTQ+ folks and allies to have many recent wins to celebrate. One victory comes to us thanks to Democratic Gov. David Ige, however, as he signed not one, not two, but three pro-LGBTQ+ bills into law to help protect and serve queer folks in Hawaii, as reported by the Los Angeles Blade.
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So much about making a career as a writer is opaque and exclusionary. There’s also a lot that, frankly, simply depends on your specific situation. It’s hard to give advice that will work for everyone, much less most people.
Here in the United States, we have a truly unwieldy number of issues to tackle at any given time, especially if you’re not a white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied person. Those people face real issues and barriers, too, of course, but marginalized folks face all of those and then some. Extra sadly but not surprisingly, low-income youth in the nation also face barriers, including access to school lunch.
We’re still trying to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence and police brutality continue to endanger everyone (especially people of color and Black men in particular), and Republicans are gearing up for the midterm elections by … banning books. Ah yes, the Republican way: distract and enrage.
As Daily Kos has covered at length, we know conservatives are trying to attack marginalized folks on all fronts.
All young people attending school have had their worlds fundamentally altered during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some students are back in the in-person classroom—and even some without face masks—plenty of students are still in virtual or hybrid classrooms. Some people are homeschooled or learning on the road with their families.
As covered over at The Washington Post, White House officials are, as of the time of writing, planning to cancel $10,000 in federal student loans per borrower for individuals who earn less than $150,000. For married couples filing jointly, the cap is $300,000. Both incomes are based on the previous year. It seems there is no additional income testing.
Republicans hate George M. Johnson’s memoir ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue.’ Johnson saw the book bans coming
Republicans at all levels of government have made book bans a recent rallying cry. Under the guise of fighting critical race theory (CRT), conservatives have lit hysteria under their voting base by convincing them that “inappropriate” books are going to invade their child’s brain. In reality, these books are more often than not by or about LGBTQ+ and/or people of color, with a handful of white, cisgender, heterosexual writers thrown in too.
Thanks to Republican hate and queerphobia, trans youth are already suffering. As Daily Kos has covered, trans and nonbinary youth are uniquely ill-protected when it comes to basic rights and dignities, including everyday things like having access to bathrooms that align with their gender identity. We’ve also seen efforts to ban already difficult to access safe, age-appropriate, gender-affirming health care.
As Daily Kos has covered at length, Republicans are making it exceptionally difficult for LGBTQ+ students, teachers, families, and frankly, people in general. This sad fact is unfortunately especially true in the state of Florida, with a special thanks to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed the discriminatory Don’t Say Gay bill into law. In short, the legislation bars public school staff, including teachers, from discussing LGBTQ+ topics or identities in the classroom.
In a sea of absolutely brutal, exhausting news, it can be truly refreshing to focus on something good—or at least, something that doesn’t involve literal human rights and freedoms. As Daily Kos covered at the time, beloved country music star (and humanitarian) Dolly Parton politely declined a nomination for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame back in March, and the Hall rather hilariously rejected her rejection.
As is the case before every major election, conservatives at all levels of government have a handful of buzzwords they can use to get their voter base riled up. As Daily Kos continues to cover, trans youth using the bathroom and playing sports is one of the biggest ones, as are calls to ban or even burn books that belong to public schools and libraries.
Being a young person today is far from easy—students are navigating life amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, considering higher education at a time when it’s devastatingly expensive, and watching rents and the housing market skyrocket. While LGBTQ+ youth are certainly not the only students experiencing hardships, research shows they do face disproportionate levels of bullying and harassment from their peers and are more likely to leave high school without a diploma.
As Daily Kos continues to cover, the heinous, hateful “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida is dangerous for LGBTQ+ students, plus those who are questioning and allies. Queer youth already face structural and systemic barriers and obstacles when it comes to mental health, in addition to being at higher risk for becoming homeless, leaving high school without a diploma, and facing verbal and physical harassment and abuse.
Here at Daily Kos, we’re making an ongoing effort to cover the Republican assault on trans rights. Conservatives are doing their best to try various routes to isolate and discriminate against trans folks, whether it comes down to denying them safe, gender-affirming health care, getting accurate gender markers on government IDs, or playing on sports teams. Republicans spend a lot of time talking about LGBTQ+ people in general, but nothing about mental health.
Earlier this week, Daily Kos covered Dolly Parton’s endearing, humble statement in which she said she respectfully declined the opportunity to be considered for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Turns out it’s too late for Parton’s withdrawal. Thursday, the organization responded by telling the general public that about 1,200 ballots have already gone out to voters—and her name is on them, according to The Washington Post.
Michael O’Keefe, a professor who taught graphic design for more than 40 years, says he was fired for bringing an openly gay speaker to his college class, according to local outlet KRQE. According to a statement from O’Keefe’s lawyer, Kevin Jacobs, the school claimed he was fired for “gross misconduct” contrary to the mission and values of the school.
Longtime progressive ally Dolly Parton announced on Monday morning she’s respectfully taking herself out of the running when it comes to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 2022 nominations list. Parton shared a statement on social media, saying she is both “flattered and grateful” but ultimately doesn’t feel she’s earned “that right.
In the sea of anti-trans, hateful legislation coming from Republicans, it becomes all too easy to miss bills that aren’t getting the same mainstream media attention. One example comes to us out of Idaho, where the House State Affairs Committee recently approved House Bill 675, as reported by LGBTQ+ outlet them.
Republican-controlled committee sends anti-trans bill along in spite of brave testimonies against it
Not one to be left in the dust when it comes to Republicans destroying the lives of vulnerable trans folks, Kentucky is now pushing an anti-trans bill to keep trans girls out of girls’ sports. Senate Bill 83 passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Feb. 10 with a vote that basically broke down along party lines with a 9-3 final vote.
At this point in the pandemic, everyone should be in agreement that face masks need to be worn when inside (at minimum) and that they need to fit well. Obviously depending on the age and needs of the person involved, that’s sometimes easier said than done. One Pennsylvania community is lashing out from both sides of the political aisle after a photo of a teacher and minor student was posted to a Facebook page called “North Penn Stronger Together.
Unfortunately, here in the United States, we tend to be inundated with wellness advice that basically sums up to: Do more, try harder, and be better. There’s much to be said about how capitalism ingrains itself so deeply into our personal lives that we experience, say, a difficult period or traumatic event and turn to self-improvement (as opposed to widely accessible mental health care, for example).
Students have a lot to deal with in today’s day and age: surviving a global pandemic, going to school among anti-mask protests, and big-picture polarization among political parties they mostly can’t participate in yet. Structural and latent racism and xenophobia continue to infiltrate classrooms, too, as though young people don’t have enough hardships.
Since the novel coronavirus pandemic became part of daily life, many people are (understandably) interested in getting outside, whether that’s in their own neighborhood or at a state or national park. Access to the outdoors is a complex issue when we consider transportation, barriers for disabled folks, and the sheer privilege of having time off of work to get outside. It can also, perhaps paradoxically, come at a cost.
Students have an absolutely enormous amount on their plates no matter how they’re attending school during a global pandemic. Whether it’s virtual, in-person, a hybrid option, public or private, we know that young people are facing pandemic-related stress, uncertainty, and confusion, just like the rest of us.
Here at Daily Kos, we recently covered the frustrating story of a preacher being pushed out of his church in Evansville, Indiana, after participating in an uplifting, inclusive drag program as part of the HBO series We’re Here. As part of the show, Pastor Craig Duke performed in drag and described himself as an ally to LGBTQ+ people and thought the outreach and inclusion could be meaningful for the congregation, including his child, who he said is pansexual. All lovely.
In many ways, I’m extremely privileged when it comes to surviving the COVID-19 pandemic—I work remotely, have excellent employer-provided health insurance, and I don’t live with any chronic health conditions. From the time people started staying home and staying safe, I was socializing less, sure, but in many ways, my life was the same: work, read, get a (solo) walk in, cook, bake, write, repeat. One thing that didn’t stay the same, however, was my mental health.
Though there are a handful of billionaires whose names we know from their frequent media coverage, there are plenty of ultra-wealthy folks who mostly live under the radar. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have an impact—for better or for worse. One example is Jeff T.
Leaked audio that was reportedly made on Dec. 16 during a private lunch in New York City reveals that Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania as a Republican, has some, uh, thoughts on trans rights he apparently didn’t feel he could share on his syndicated talk show, The Dr. Oz Show. Oz reportedly defended J.K.
As Republicans continue to find fresh energy to push discriminatory anti-trans legislation, following the news can feel pretty frustrating and depressing. With that in mind, it’s important to celebrate every win we can. A recent example comes to us from the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri, where an openly trans former student was awarded more than $4 million in damages on sex discrimination charges, as reported by The Los Angeles Blade.
In one of President Joe Biden’s most disappointing moves, it’s been yet again confirmed that the Biden administration is not extending federal student loan relief during an ongoing global pandemic, as reported by Forbes. Per a White House press briefing, payments will apparently resume on Feb.