Now, the first-term rep, wonders if North American people are ready for the 2024 election year as more than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills drowned the state legislature, according to GLAAD’s 2023 Accelerating Acceptance report. The two legislative sessions prior to 2023 were also record breaking.
Yet while most of these mounting bills might not pass, they have a harmful lasting effect on mental health, access to community, education and healthcare as well as public perception of LGBTQ people.
In GLAAD’s 2023 Accelerating Acceptance report it was reported from the Trevor Project that “nearly 2 in 3 LGBTQ young people said that hearing about potential state or local laws banning people from discussing LGBTQ people at school made their mental health a lot worse.”
These wide-spread political attacks, and their effect on the LGBTQ community, in part, influenced Zephyr to run for office. When elected in 2022, Zephyr became the first trans woman to be elected to the Montana legislature alongside SJ Howell, the first nonbinary person to be elected in the state.
During her campaign Zephyr ran on a “human rights” platform she vows to continue.
“We must each have the courage to stand up—in whatever rooms we’re in—to fight for the LGBTQ community. And as we fight, we must do so with all communities fighting for justice/equality. For, when we stand up together, we uplift all of us,” Zephyr said in June as one of the European Union in the US’s Pride Hero.
Bob the Drag Queen
Jossell told Bob that she is one of the hardest working queens she’s seen. “You stay booked,” Jossell said.
Even with more than 160 attacks on drag events since early 2022, according to GLAAD reports, Bob the Drag Queen doesn’t shy away from her artistry.
With that, when Bob isn’t working with other drag artists like Monét X Change and Peppermint, she is taking time to herself to watch TikTok debates, eat fast food, and make plans for time off, like most people.
Bob’s message to LGBTQ youth is to “just do your thing.”
In Generation Z, 13.1% say they are bisexual, 3.4% are gay, 2.2% are lesbian, and 1.9% are transgender. Each of those percentages is higher than it is for all other generations, according to GLAAD’s 2023 Accelerating Acceptance Report.
The “viral moment” queen wants the growing number of LGBTQ youth to know that he didn’t get that much advice growing up, and he “turned out okay,” so to “trust yourself,” and to understand that nothing is absolute, shares Bob.
Jones does the work that legacy papers have failed to do: hold the truth to account when anti-LGBTQ activists and legislators use their power to manipulate, slander facts, science and the humanity of LGBTQ human-beings.
For instance, in the second season of the 2023 GLAAD Media-award winning podcast The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality podcast (which won the 2022 Excellence in Podcasting Award from the National LGBTQ+ Journalists Association), Jones explores how legacy newspapers like the New York Times has gotten away with hyperbolic, mistruths and misinformed reporting of transgender news coverage.
This outrageous reporting goes against the facts as well as public perception of transgender and the larger LGB community.
When we look at the state of public perception in the United States, GLAAD has found that more than half of non-LGBTQ US adults (66%) are comfortable learning that a family member is transgender, according to GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance report. Even more North Americans are okay with learning a family member is non-binary (68%). With that, a 91% supermajority of non-LGBTQ US adults agree that LGBTQ people should have the freedom to live their life and not be discriminated against, with 96% of that group believing that safety and equality should extend to schools too.
Nevertheless, Jones’ work in The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality podcast chronologicalizes the actions of a smaller group of anti-LGBTQ religious extremists who engage in dominionism, a group of Christian political ideologies that seek to institute a nation that is governed by Christians, invited by past presidential administrations to eradicate LGBTQ people. While this history goes far back, Jones records a huge transition in legislative purview in 2017 with bathroom bills and anti-trans sports bills, and has led to more than 500 anti-LGBTQ legislation being filed throughout the country in the 2023 US legislative session.
“Yeah that shocked me, how this moment that we’re in is not an accident. It is a consequence of what these groups and the money and the ideology behind them have been setting up for a long time. This is a fight that they’ve wanted to have.
“A lot of this comes out of groups that began to want to infuse religion into legal and political life, beginning in the 1980s. Particularly the early 2000s, they got really animated around gay marriage. They lost gay marriage, the fight against gay marriage, in 2015, and then decided that they could not lose the fight on trans issues. And they really do perceive it as a threat. For them, family life is the bedrock of American life, so they really do see LGBTQ issues as a threat to the Republic. I’m not being flip when I say that,” Imara Jones explained to Politico in 2021.
Imara is also the first trans person to ever receive an award from the National Black Journalists Association, having garnered the Journalist of Distinction Award in 2022.
Among this incredible list of accolades with more unmentioned, Imara Jones has a message for trans, nonbinary and gender-diverse people in the US:
“You know who you are. There isn’t anything that anyone can say to you that’s going to change that reality,” said Imara Jones.
“There is room at the table for every Black, full figured, full lipped, dark, light, chocolate, buttercream, all of us,” said Annan to Shar Jossel.
With that said, On Sept. 14 through Sept. 17 the GLAAD Media Institute’s Communities of Color is committing itself to making even more space in the entertainment industry by hosting the Black Queer Creative Summit. The first-of-it’s-kind summit is specifically geared towards empowering, educating, and training emerging Black LGBTQ+ creatives across five sectors of the entertainment industry: Executives, Creatives, Behind the Scenes, On-Screen Talent, and Music Supervision.
Yet, the best part is, those who apply and are accepted to the summit will win an all-expense paid scholarship to participate in the Black Queer Creative Summit.
“And I thank you GLAAD for answering the call when we say, ‘hello!’” Annan said.
Additionally, GLAAD’s 2022-2023 Where We Are in TV Report shares that over half of all LGBTQ characters across platforms were people of color (POC), with 304 out of 596 (51% of all LGBTQ characters) being POC.
Television inclusion may continue to reach new heights for the vast LGBTQ community. However, Annan reminds audiences that to maintain equality in these spaces, the fight must continue.
“If you know better, do better,” Annan said. “Don’t take your rights for granted.”
Raven Symoné and Miranda Maday
Symone has been in the industry as a young person playing the lead in the Disney hit series “That’s So Raven.” In 2017 the show’s spin-off “Raven’s Home” stomped on those once-realities for Raven with history making representation. In the summer of 2022, trans actress Juliana Joel made Disney Channel history on Raven’s Home by debuting her character Nikki, who is the network’s first trans character ever.
“I always felt like I had to leave the industry to live my life,” said Symoné.
However, GLAAD counted 239 series regular LGBTQ characters and 117 LGBTQ recurring characters, bringing the total to 356 LGBTQ characters on the streaming services including Disney+, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount+ and Peacock. Source: Where We Are On TV 2023
While this outstanding number is a decrease of two characters from the previous year’s report, we are proud of shows like Raven’s Home for breaking the mold that may have kept Raven from believing that she had to live in secret.
Miranda Maday adds to her wife’s sentiments by speaking to the feelings Raven once felt.
“I think my message to anyone who is struggling or is questioning coming out or anything like that is to trust in the ability to live your truth. and in living your truth, even if everyone else around you is shunning you or telling you, you can’t, you’ll find the right people.”
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Luis Sandoval is a trailblazing Mexican actor, entertainer and LGBTQ journalist. Luis reports for ¡Despierta América! on Univision. He also hosts the radio show “Buena Vibra” on KLove and is a GLAAD Media Award nominee.
Sandoval wants to see the people fight back legislators “that don’t care about us,” as he notes in the video above.
The 2020 GLAAD Media Award winner and nominee has been in the journalism and entertainment industry for many years. He’s helping to change and shape the way Mexico and Latine media report on LGBTQ news in and outside the United States.
This visibility that Luis brings into multimedia has aided incredible impacts accelerating acceptance and creating an optimistic impact on Latine culture.
In GLAAD’s 2022 Accelerating Acceptance report found that 57% of non-LGBTQ Latina/o adults believe the increasing visibility of a range of gender expressions is having a positive impact on our culture. And 3 out of 4 LGBTQ Latina/o adults agree.
“I’m kinda over the moon as a parent, getting to bring my daughter Zaya with me as my date. That’s really exciting for her to really get a chance to meet a lot of the community is huge,” said Union.
Our research shows an overwhelming majority of Americans agree that parents should support and love their child(ren) exactly as they are (94%), according to GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance 2023.
Over half of transgender and nonbinary people (54%) say they don’t feel safe or welcome walking in their own neighborhoods, compared to 36% of LGBTQ adults, according to GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance 2022.
For Union, this support is imperative to creating moments of joy and safety in the face of animosity.
“Every time someone has said something negative about me, and I check them out, not one of them has a life I am envious of; not one is living their truth; not one has joy consistently in their life. So, if those are the people you are going to listen to, we have some other issues we have to work out first,” Union said.
“This means so much for me to be here, knowing that I was queer from such a young age, and feeling really lost in the world,” Fletcher said.
This year New Jersey, like many states, has a number of LGBTQ-centered bills. Most of those introduced laws, according to the Equality Federation legislation tracker, are in support of the LGBTQ community. However, there are about 16 of the 62 bills introduced to desecrate LGBTQ history, sex education, anti-discrimination policies, and transgender guidelines established under Gov. Chris Christie’s administration in 2017.
Many of these bills won’t pass, but it hasn’t stopped New Jersey Board of Educations from passing similar anti-LGBTQ policies in their schools throughout the state. This is happening even though 96% of non-LGBTQ Americans agree that schools should be a safe and accepting place for all youth, according to Accelerating Acceptance 2023.
No matter what, some of these kids might feel how Fletcher felt as a youth due to public perception of the LGBTQ community, but she has a message for you:
“So, I just want to say for any queer child out there, I just want you to know that you belong in this world, and you belong on these stages,” Fletcher said.
“The Ls, the Gs, and the Bs need to support the Ts more than ever,” said Frankie.
The new board member says that when politicians incite violence on a group of people that “don’t need to be fought, but embraced” more lives become the faces of Transgender Remembrance Day. Grande adds that by embracing the LGBTQ community with care–with a specific focus on the trans community–we’re keeping people safe mentally, physically, and emotionally in a time of heightened violence by people and politicians.
Despite over 90% of non-LGBTQ people agreeing that LGBTQ people should have the freedom to live their lives and not be discriminated against, we continue to face high levels of discrimination, according to the 2023 Accelerating Acceptance report.
However, Frankie Grande is inspired to change this.