The LGBT South is a weekly email newsletter, compiling national, regional, and local news important to LGBT Southerners. Subscribe to get the latest edition to your inbox every Friday morning and keep up with what the Campaign for Southern Equality is up to!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“To my LGBTQIA family, I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different, those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world – because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it.”
– Lena Waithe, in her acceptance speech for her historic Emmy win for Comedy Writing
Here’s your breakdown of what’s happening this week in the #LGBTsouth:
CARING FOR OUR COMMUNITY
On Sunday, Georgia Tech student and activist Scout Schultz was killed by campus police officers in a tragic incident that has caused grief and outrage at the university. Schultz, a 21-year-old fourth year computer engineering student and president of the university’s Pride Alliance group, had a documented history of mental health issues and suicidal tendencies, according to their mother. In their encounter with the campus police, they were seen holding a pocket knife – which was later found to be closed – and telling the officers, “Shoot me.”
The terrible incident illustrates the intersection of so many of the most pressing issues we are facing right now: LGBTQ discrimination, police brutality, and healthcare access. We know that LGBTQ people face mental health challenges at higher rates than their straight counterparts, and are also arrested and incarcerated disproportionately. It raises the question for many people, including Shultz’s mother, as to why officers are not better equipped to use non-lethal force when a person is showing mental health symptoms.
In addition, the Senate has introduced their latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The repeal would be devastating for millions of Americans, and put already difficult-to-access resources farther out of reach. In the first year under the ACA, rates of uninsured LGBTQ people dropped by 26%.
A repeal would qualify certain mental health diagnoses as pre-existing conditions, making insurance unaffordable or inaccessible for many, creating a vicious cycle that could lead to more unnecessary tragedies like Schultz’s death. It’s a multi-faceted issue, but one with a very real human cost, whether it be someone’s life, health, or freedom.
PROTECTING TRANS TROOPS
This week brought more developments around the proposed ban on transgender people serving in the military. Since Trump announced the ban in a string of tweets back in July, a number of Congress members and military officials have spoken out against the ban and assured people that no policy changes have actually taken place.
On Friday, the Pentagon issued a memo stating that trans service members will be allowed to serve, reenlist, and receive medical care at least until February 2018 while the Department of Defense determines what to do about the ban. This looks like a positive development, but for troops that are currently serving, they say the delay only makes thins worse. Being trans in the military currently means serving each day with the threat of being discharged, which would upend their career, health care, and plans for their futures and families.
As with the uncertainty surrounding the future of DACA, this administration has made a habit of announcing major, life-altering decisions, but the follow-through has been murky. Each week brings new developments around different communities’ safety and status in this country, but for now it looks like we’ll have to wait a few months for any answers on this matter.
The Campaign for Southern Equality is providing a grant of $3,000 to We Are Family to support the Charleston YOUth Count, the first ever assessment of youth housing instability and food insecurity in Charleston.
Derricka Banner, a Black trans woman from Charlotte, NC, is the 20th transgender persons to be killed in 2017.
The Arizona Supreme Court unanimously ruled in support of same-sex parents, affirming their equal rights to their straight counterparts.
Lena Waithe became the first Black woman to win an Emmy for Comedy Writing for the beautiful and acclaimed “Thanksgiving” episode of Netflix’s Master of None.
Benji Hart writes for BYP100 about the anti-blackness of believing black communities are unsupportive of queer youth.
Ole Miss is a model for other universities grappling with a history of racism.
WFPL in Louisville, KY looks at how White Nationalists are trying to win over Appalachia.
This long-read with Ibram Kendi, one of the nation’s leading scholars on racism, looks at the roots of racism in the U.S. and the latest efforts to end it.
She believes in collective, intersectional liberation with a focus on reproductive justice. She values the power of intergenerational and ancestral work, creativity, and working towards an environmentally minded world. Maya’s passions lie in building bridges with accomplices of all ages, abilities, races, sexualities, socioeconomic backgrounds and genders by creating warm, safe spaces where folks can convene, create and build emotional support systems. Maya currently works as the Tzedek Social Justice Fellow for Engagement and Operations for the Campaign for Southern Equality. Her duties include assisting with event planning and administrative support around fundraising.
After Tzedek, she has professional dreams of assisting nonprofits in adopting cutting edge fundraising and mindful accessibility techniques. Her personal future lies in planning for the future of autonomous healing, living and growing space for black and brown queer folks.
WHAT THE CAMPAIGN FOR SOUTHERN EQUALITY IS UP TO
We will be tabling at Blue Ridge Pride in Asheville, NC next Saturday, September 30! Look for the CSE banner and come grab a button, some resources, and say hi!
This clinic is led by trans and gender nonconforming folks and is hosted by Western North Carolina Community Health Services and the Campaign for Southern Equality. We’ll cover safety issues that come up for trans folks, including trainings in self defense (including how to use pepper spray), safety planning, and how to use safety apps on your phone. Every participant will receive a can of pepper spray and a flashlight. Free snacks and drinks will be provided.