The Bulletin: All the LGBTQ+ News You Need From the Week of 3/21/22
The Bulletin: LGBTQ+ News From the Week of 3/21
Welcome to "The Bulletin," a new weekly digest of top stories selected by The Advocate's staff. This week's selection has been pulled together by me, Alex Cooper. I'm the digital director of Advocate.com, and I manage the content on the website. Here's a little about what I selected.
Over the past week, national attention has been on the confirmation hearings of Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden's pick for the Supreme court to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. During the hearings, Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee tried to paint Jackson as extreme and political. Besides comments about what a woman is, lawmakers also zeroed in on marriage equality calling it an "edict" created by the U.S. Supreme Court.
We also published an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci about where he believes HIV research and treatment are heading. He shared with The Advocate his concerns over some young people's approach to HIV. However, he's optimistic about future treatments, especially thanks to the technology developed during the ongoing global pandemic.
U.S. officials were also able to meet WNBC superstar Brittney Griner for the first time since her arrest in February. Though she's been able to meet with her legal team, this is the first she's met with an embassy representative. She's being held in Russia after being arrested over drug charges.
Other stories in this bulletin include the tragic death of a trans woman in Chicago, two Republican governors also vetoing anti-trans sports legislation this week, Lizzo's new show, Russian President Vladimir Putin comparing Russia to J.K. Rowling, and more.
Sen. John Cornyn Grills Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Marriage Equality in SCOTUS Hearing
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas called the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling an "edict" and an example of policy-making by the court when questioning nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearing Tuesday.
Cornyn, a Republican, posited that the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision created a new right that is not in the U.S. Constitution, and he questioned the court's authority to make the decision, as 32 states had passed laws or constitutional amendments against marriage equality. He brought up a conflict with religion as well.
"When the Supreme Court decides that something that is not even in the Constitution is a fundamental right and no state can pass any law that conflicts with the Supreme Court's edict, particularly in an area where people have sincerely held religious beliefs, doesn't that necessarily create a conflict between what people may believe as a matter of their religious doctrine or faith and what the federal government says is the law of the land?" Cornyn asked.
"That is the nature of a right," Jackson responded. "That when there is a right, it means that there are limitations on regulation, even if people are regulating pursuant to their sincerely held religious beliefs."
Trans Woman Tatiana Labelle Found Dead in Trash Can in Chicago
Black transgender woman Tatiana "Tee Tee" Labelle, 33, was found dead Friday in a trash can in Chicago, and her death has been ruled a homicide, making her at least the seventh trans person to have died by violence in the U.S. this year.
Six other trans Americans are known to have died by violent means so far in 2022, after a year that saw a record 57 such deaths reported. The total in any year is likely much higher, given that many trans people are misgendered or deadnamed by police and media, or that their deaths are not reported at all. Most of the victims the decade since activists and LGBTQ+ media have been reporting on these deaths have been Black or Latinx women.
Ruthie Berman: The Pioneering Lesbian Shares Her Epic Love Story
Ruthie Berman was in her 40s when she kissed her best friend, Connie Kurtz, for the first time. "I was in another world. I was in another space in the way I was behaving. It was totally different than anything I had experienced." This was the 1970s, with both married to men, both mothers, both members of the same small Jewish community in Brooklyn.
But Berman felt something she realized she'd never felt before: she was falling head-over-heels in love. After the kiss, Berman asked her, "Can't you do better than that?" They kissed again and they kept kissing for the next 40 years.
U.S. Reps Meet Brittney Griner for 1st Time Since Arrest, Give Update
A U.S. embassy official in Moscow said that they had found lesbian WNBA star Brittney Griner to be "in good condition" after the embassy was granted consular access to Griner, according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and plays for the WBNA's Phoenix Mercury. She was arrested in February at a Moscow airport. Russian authorities have accused Griner of smuggling a narcotic substance. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison.
Both governors in Utah and Indiana went against their GOP-led legislatures in doing so. However, Utah's legislature voted to override Gov. Spencer Cox's veto just days later. In defense of this veto, Cox referenced his concern about what the bill could do to the mental health of trans kids.
Read more about Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto here, and read more about Utah Gov. Spencer's Cox veto and the Utah legislature's override here.
Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls Is Pure TV Serotonin
Spearheaded by the Grammy award-winning singer and body positivity activist Lizzo, the series is essentially a season-long audition to join the "Truth Hurts" singer on stage at Bonnaroo in Australia as one of her "big girl" backup dancers. Here's the catch though: There are technically spots available for every one of them, so they're only competing to be their very best, rather than against one another.
Dr. Fauci Isn’t Going Anywhere Until There's a Cure for HIV
While there has been so much focus on the ongoing global pandemic during the last two years, Dr. Fauci emphasized to The Advocate, in the strongest terms possible, that he has "not pulled back one bit, and not in the least, on his enthusiasm, passion, and efforts toward HIV/AIDS."
"This is very personal to me," he explained.
Fauci said he was heartened by the fact that as of today there are better treatments, preventions, and hopes for a vaccine, and for these reasons, he's not taking his foot off the gas pedal. "Look how far we've come, and though we have more work to do, we now have an injection available that some HIV-positive folks can get every seven months that will keep them undetectable, and long-acting PrEP injectable that works better than Truvada."
Putin Claims Russia Is Being 'Canceled' Like J.K. Rowling
Russian President Vladimir Putin leveled criticism against Western countries, claiming they are trying to "cancel" Russia. In his speech on Friday, he referenced the criticism Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling received for her transphobic views and comments.
"Recently, they canceled the children's writer Joanne Rowling because she - the author of books that have sold 100s of millions of copies worldwide - fell out of favor with fans of so-called 'gender freedoms,'" Putin said.
Rowling, however, has already distanced herself from the Russian leader's remarks.
In his address, Putin claimed that "they are now trying to cancel our country. I'm talking about the progressive discrimination of everything to do with Russia."
Putin pointed to the cancellation of numerous Russian cultural events globally following the country's invasion of Ukraine.
Read more -- including Rowling's response -- here.
Sampson McCormick, Black Gay Comedian, Punched at Live Show
A gay comedian was attacked during his stand-up comedy performance at a California casino on Wednesday evening.
Sampson McCormick told The Advocate that he has performed at Win-River Resort & Casino in Redding, Calif., for seven years, and in that time, he has never been physically attacked. This week, that changed.
Read more about what happened and how McCormick responded here.