From the March-April 2022 issue of News & Letters
Students are rising up to protest injustice:
- Armed with petitions, Queer students and their supporters marched to the office of George Magoha, Kenya’s Secretary of Education. Magoha suggested that LGBTQ+ students be banned from boarding school, a common type of education in Kenya, where homosexuality remains illegal, punishable by imprisonment of five to 14 years. LGBTQ+ rights groups, including Bold Africa, have called for Magoha’s arrest.
- Thousands of Florida students walked out of class and marched in protest of the “don’t say gay” and the Parental Rights in Education bills, which passed Florida’s senate and Gov. Desantis said he will sign. They ban discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and in classrooms when such discussions are deemed not age-appropriate.
- Texas Trans youth and supporters rallied in Austin to protest Gov. Abbott’s directive that parents supportive of their Trans children be investigated as child abusers. Texas District Judge Amy Meachum on March 11 halted all such investigations and will hold a trial on the directive in July.
- Florida and Texas Queer youth have an ally in students at the H.B. Beal Secondary School in London, Ontario, Canada, who rallied to protest the “don’t say gay” bills and Texas’s anti-Trans legislation (see “Queer Notes,” May-June 2021 N&L).
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Beloved Hyattsville, Maryland, mayor, Gay man Kevin Ward, was found shot dead, of a suspected suicide. Ward was elected mayor after serving as interim mayor after Candace Hollingsworth resigned. That his death was a possible suicide brings attention to the fact that LGBTQ+ men aged 35 to 64 have a higher risk of attempting suicide than Queer youth, according to a study published in the November 2021 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or other self-harm, call or text your local suicide prevention line. The USA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 1-800-273-8255.
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Black Trans woman Ju’ Zema Goldring won $1.5 million, after suing the Atlanta police and the two officers who unjustly arrested her. Officers Juan Restrepo and Vladimir Henry falsely arrested Goldring for jaywalking, then wrongly jailed her for drug possession. Federal Judge William Ray severely rebuked them for claiming she was carrying drugs in her stress ball and imprisoning her nearly six months while the lab that determined there were no drugs was completing their work. Even though Goldring was housed in a section for Trans women, she experienced sexual misconduct, including an invasive search.
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New Zealand has banned conversion therapy for people under age 18! Shame on the eight National Party members who voted against this bill. Therapists who violate the ban face up to three years imprisonment, and five years if the “therapy” causes serious harm. Almost 107,000 public comments were submitted on the law. Shaneel Lal, of Conversion Therapy Action, joins many others in praising the ban’s passage. The UN found that conversion therapy, also called reparative therapy, causes depression, suicidal ideation and attempts, anxiety and other harms.