Piquing’s Picks – Queer News Stories You Should Read Today

We have scoured the internet to find the most LGBTQIA+-relevant stories that are either trending, worth a read, or long-forgotten but still relevant and thought-provoking, so that you don’t have to. Each week, Piquing Duck will summarize a handful of stories, often tied to relevant facts, historical events, or current affairs in the LGBTQIA+ world globally, providing links and resources for those who wish to read the stories in full. Please be sure to follow the links provided to read the stories summarized in detail, and access more resources to further enhance your understanding of the stories below.

Utah Governor Vetoes Anti-Trans Sports Bill 

Amid the controversy surrounding US Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas from the University of Pennsylvania not only winning two freestyle swimming races at the Zippy Invitational Event in Akron but very nearly broke world records held in similar events, Utah’s Republican Governor Spencer Cox vetoed House Bill 11. The bill which would seek to ban Trans youth from competing in sports teams corresponding to their gender identity also bases this ban on its definition of “sex” as “biological, physical condition of being male or female, determined by an individual’s genetics and anatomy at birth.” Thomas’ win sparked widespread outrage and reignited an international conversation regarding Trans contestants, especially Trans women competing in sports with non-Trans women. To Thomas’ win, Annabelle Rutledge, Concerned Women of America director said, “This is a male displacing women. The female who came in second today is the real winner.” 

Governor Spencer Cox of Utah

The US, in recent months, has seen a rise in anti-Transgender legislation either tabled or passed in mostly Republican-held states, with HB11 being tabled by Republican Rep Kera Birkeland, who proposed that Trans athletes upload their birth certificates and select the sport they want to play, at which point “If the gender on their birth certificate does not match the sport they want to play, a commission with a doctor, sports physiologist, university-level athletic trainer, coach, and other experts would decide whether they can play on that team.” Governor Cox, in explaining why he vetoed the bill wrote in part, “ we have worked very hard together to resolve the many issues surrounding transgender student participation in sports. Unfortunately, HB11 has several fundamental flaws and should be reconsidered.” But Utah’s legislative leaders announced that they planned to meet to override Governor Cox’s Veto.

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LGBT+ Group Flees Russia Fearing Police Raids and Possible Jail Time 

As the conflict between Russia escalates, with at least 847 civilian deaths in Ukraine since February 24, a St. Petersburg-based LGBT+ rights group, Coming Out, has fled from Russia fearing political reprisals amid the escalating war. In an interview with Pinknews, the group’s CEO Aleksandr Voronov said that his, as well as other human rights campaigners, and feminist activists had been targeted by police raids within days of the conflict, with some being arrested. Voronov also expressed fears that should Russia lose, the Kremlin would use such groups as scapegoats saying, “The question is not about winning or losing. The question is where the authorities will find a reason for the loss: human rights defenders, ‘foreign agents’, traitors of ‘traditional values’, and everyone who was against the war… The responsibility for the loss will be assigned to us.” 

“This video allegedly filmed in West Siberia, actually shows a man who was forced to say he was gay … and you can see he has put a gun to his head to force him to say that he is gay and give his name, his address … other personal information. In the video you can see that he is terrified, he’s crying … he is shaking. They threaten him with death. He knows that he is probably going to die.”
Tania, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Russia

Russia has long been known as one of the worst places to be LGBT+. The documentary Hunted In Russia: A documentary on homophobic violence directed by Ben Steele showed the violent crusade against LGBT+ people in Russia by Anti-Gay vigilantes as fueled by anti-gay propaganda law. The vigilante infiltrated in the making of the documentary is known to track down, abduct, and torment gay men, photographing these men’s humiliations and posting them online without any fear of arrest. 

“Good Boy” Returned to Shelter for Being Gay 

Homophobia is no laughing matter but at times, homophobic acts are worth a chuckle. Frezco, a 4-year-old dog was dropped off at an animal shelter in Stanly County, North Carolina by his owners who claimed their dog was “Gay”. Among anti-LGBT+ circles, the argument is often made that Homosexuality is unnatural because it is not found in nature, a fact that has not only been disputed but entirely disproven by scientific research. Homosexual activity has been identified in birds, beetles, sheep, fruit bats, dolphins, and orangutans among other animal species.

 “If [sex] wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t have any kids around. So I think that maybe Japanese macaques have taken the fun aspect of sex and really run with it.” -Matthew Grober, biology professor at Georgia State University

An article published as far back as 2004 by the trusted National Geographic offered to provide an explanation into such behavior in animals and its correlation to humans. Despite enduring evidence that homosexuality in nature is not only common but indeed natural, many still push back against the notion. It is also worth noting that North Carolina, Frezco’s home state continues to be one of the least LGBT+ states in the US, so one might argue Frezco’s ejection from his forever home should come as no surprise. 

Photos – Courtesy of the Governor’s Office, Unsplash

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