With the new proposed laws in Uganda, it’s very easy to feel down about being a member of or an ally for the LGBTQ+ community. Sometimes it feels like everything’s a setback, and it’s important to fight these setbacks: for example, the UN is currently urging Uganda to block the anti-LGBTQ+ bill. But I also think it’s important to acknowledge breakthroughs, to celebrate wins. In this article, I’ll be discussing present wins for the LGBTQ+ community and I hope it encourages you to embrace and celebrate your sexuality.
Pink News has put together a list of 23 sapphic books that will be coming out in 2023. Queer women are often under-represented in media and literature, but authors, characters, and storylines revolving around queer women are becoming much more popular, with constant recommendations on social media platforms such as TikTok, and an increase of representation in bookstores. Here’s the sapphic books that I’m most looking forward to adding to my TBR:
The Dos and Donuts of Love by Adiba Jaigirdar - author of The Henna Wars and Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating - which follows a teenage girl competing in a televised baking competition, with contestants including her ex-girlfriend and a potential new crush.
The Shadow Cabinet by Juno Dawson - author of This Book is Gay - the second instalment of the HMRC Trilogy follows a group of childhood friends and witches, who must choose between what is right and what is easy if they have any hope of keeping their coven and their world from tearing apart.
Forget Me Not by Alyson Derrick - author of She Gets The Girl - follows Stevie and Nora who have been dating in secret for the past two years while living in a conservative, rural Pennsylvania town. Stevie ends up in a coma and forgets the past two years happened - including that she is in love with Nora.
Which sapphic books will you be adding to your TBR?
Mark Takano is the first openly gay member of congress of Asian heritage, which is huge for the representation of the LGBTQ+ community and people of colour in politics. Here’s some of the things he’s done as congressmen to fight for LGBTQ+ rights:
He was recently a part of a twelve-hour committee hearing on an anti-trans measure - aiming to ban gender-affirming healthcare for children - and an anti-LGBTQ+ education bill; which would prohibit or limit the discussion or mention of homosexuality and transgender identities in schools.
He travelled to Japan - a country which does not legally recognise same-sex relationships, where same-sex couples are not able to adopt children, where sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected from discrimination by civil rights laws - to meet with LGBTQ+ activists, and petitioned for political leaders to push forward with LGBTQ+ rights.
He co-chairs the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, which was formed in 2008 to advance LGBTQ+ rights.
He is leading the Equality Act in the 188th Congress, supporting congressman David Cicilline’s argument that; ‘it is far past time we act to finally outlaw discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community by passing the Equality Act.
It is far past time we act to finally outlaw discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community by passing the Equality Act.
Canada has recently lifted the ban on sexually-active gay and bisexual men donating blood. The most recent policy required a three-month abstinence before gay or bisexual men could donate blood, but now that requirement has been removed. The federal health department approved a request from Canadian Blood Services to allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood, with the process now in place requiring all potential donors to be screened for high-risk sexual behaviours, not just queer men. Health Canada described this as, ‘a significant milestone toward a more inclusive blood donation system nationwide.‘ This is a huge step in removing unfair biases placed on gay and bisexual men.
A significant milestone toward a more inclusive blood donation system nationwide.
Minnesota Trans Refuge Bill
The Minnesota House recently passed a bill that will make Minnesota a refuge for transgender people. The bill will protect trans patients and providers of gender-affirming care from legal action, if they sought treatment in Minnesota but live in or travel to states where this care is banned or restricted, similar to the shield law that was passed for people seeking abortions at a time where laws varied due to the fall of Roe v Wade. There has been a rise in anti-trans bills, laws, discrimination, and crimes, so the passing of this bill provides a glimmer of hope for members of the trans community. Representative Leigh Finke - the first openly transgender person elected to the Minnesota Legislature - stated that this, ‘will send a strong message to the trans community that they are loved, supported, and protected.’
The passing of the Trans Refuge bill will send a strong message to the trans community that they are loved, supported, and protected.
There’s a lot the LGBTQ+ community and it’s allies have to do until we get complete equal rights, and you can read more about LGBTQ+ activism here. However, we have to remember that there are always things to celebrate in this community, there are constant steps forward, not just steps back, there are wins and we need to acknowledge them and celebrate them and continue to fight for more of them. Find out how else you can support the LGBTQ+ community from the LGBT Foundation.