Link Roundup #1

LGBTQ asylum seekers, anti-trans bills, queer Tejanos honor Selena, a brief review of Ammonite and more!

Hello! I’m writing to you from the Texas hill country because my wife and I decided to leave the confines of our home for a few days to work in a different set of walls with views of nature! We’re taking breaks to hike and bird watch. Every morning and evening we’re greeted by some very cute deer grazing in the meadow. Also, we have a hot tub!

This is the first link roundup of Queer Tejas! I wanted to give it a clever name but I don’t know what it is yet. Stay tuned. Each link roundup will have a section with news and stories you should read, another section featuring books, movies/TV, podcasts, and other pop culture-y things I’m consuming at the moment, and then I’ll close out with mutual aid requests, calls to action, and other community care needs. Lezz go!


News and Stories You Should Read

Texas Lege

The Texas Lege has ramped up so here are some bills to watch out for.

+ There are several anti-trans bills being pushed in the lege that is part of a national and coordinated attack on trans rights. SB 29 would ban trans youth from participating in UIL sports by requiring them to play on teams that match the gender on their birth certificate. A hearing is scheduled on Friday, 3/26 at 9am in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

In addition, there’s a bunch of bills proposing to ban affirming healthcare for trans youth. For example, HB 68 would define transition-related healthcare provided by medical professionals as “child abuse.”

Check out Equality Texas’ Legislative Bill Tracker for updates.

+ There are also a bunch of anti-choice bills being pushed, perpetuating years of restrictive abortion laws. SB 8 would ban abortions as early as six weeks, with exceptions for medical emergencies but not for cases of rape or incest. The bill would make it easier to sue abortion providers and harder for anti-choice laws to be blocked by courts.

+ Texas’ voting laws are already super restrictive so Texas Republicans want to make it extremely restrictive to vote.

Immigration

+ Valery Sanchez, a transgender woman from Honduras, is one of the thousands of migrants seeking asylum. Up until a few months ago, she was staying at a makeshift migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, awaiting her asylum case to be heard. But conditions at the camp led her to flee and stay at Rainbow Bridge, an LGBTQ shelter in Matamoros. As part of a rollback of the Migrant Protection Protocols created by Trump, the Biden administration allowed almost all of the 700 migrants at the Matamoros camp to enter the U.S to await their hearings. If Sanchez had stayed at the camp, she would’ve been allowed to enter. The move has caused confusion, highlighting inequities of which migrants are allowed to enter, and how the Biden administration is moving forward with migrants arriving at the border. The Texas Tribune and ProPublica reports

+ On the other hand, some LGBTQ asylum seekers who lived at the Matamoros camp for nearly two years, finally entered the U.S. They are living with family now as they await their immigration hearings. The Washington Blade reports

Mixed Bag

+ The Anti-Defamation League’s annual report on white supremacist propaganda found that a Texas-based group called the Patriot Front was responsible for 80% all racist, antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ and other hateful propaganda incidents across the U.S. According to the ADL, they saw a near-doubling of white supremacist propaganda in 2020, the highest they’ve ever recorded.

+ “White Texans are being vaccinated at nearly twice the rate of Hispanic Texans and more than six times the rate of Black Texans, according to state data.” The Texas Tribune reports on the inequities found when distributing the vaccine. 

Good Things 

+ The Montrose Center in Houston opened the state’s first LGBTQ-affirming senior living facility. Construction is ongoing but around 18 seniors have moved into the Law Harrington Senior Living Center, reports OutSmart magazine. They profiled five residents including lesbian activist Deborah Bell and trans drag performer Dina Jacobs. 

+ Texas Monthly produced a special package for Selena’s 50th birthday. One of the stories is a beautiful ode to Selena and how she has empowered queer Tejanos long after she died. 

“Our experience of queer love began with Dreaming of You and evolved as we absorbed her other albums together. As was the case for so many queer Texans, we came to see versions of our stories in hers: brilliantly transfigured, free to love grandly, and emboldened to cross over the river of self-doubt.” - Joe Galván


Read, Watch, Listen

👀 Ammonite. My official review of the film is that it was too similar to Portrait of A Lady on Fire. They are basically twin films with lots of melancholy scenes by the shore. In both films, one woman is deeply invested in her work and the other is unhappy about her marriage. Both are period pieces focused on a brief but intense lesbian love affair. I much prefer Portrait for its depth, literary allusions, hot ass intimacy in the form of arm-pit licking (I said what I said) and the chemistry between the actresses. Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan’s chemistry is meh, at best. The sex scenes in Ammonite were surprising because well…they went for it right out of the gate!

📻 Odessa. Have y’all ever been to Odessa? I drove through Odessa on the way to Big Bend for the first time in 2019 and let me tell you, that stretch of highway was the loneliest, saddest part of Texas I’ve ever seen. All the oil rigs made me think about how capitalism is literally sucking the life out of the place and simultaneously destroying the earth. I’m sure there’s some charming aspects of Odessa — after all, Friday Night Lights was inspired by the town. Which brings me to this four-part podcast series from the New York Times

It explores how Odessa High School handled reopening in the fall during the pandemic. I was really surprised to hear that some kids were logging into zoom class while at their job that helps support their family. The first episode was a good snapshot of how the oil economy affects the town, the families, and the students who live in Odessa. The second episode heavily focused on the marching band which made me emotional because I was a hardcore band geek. How the fuck did I not know that the OHS marching band have been getting straight ones for 81 years??? That’s legendary. Listen to the podcast for great context about this West Texas town and stay for the emotional stories of teachers and students navigating COVID-19. 


Community Care Corner

In light of the anti-Asian violence that killed eight people, six of them Asian women, in Atlanta, I wanted to boost this Asian American community resource list. There are several Texas-based organizations and non-regional orgs to check out, as well as mutual aids and memorial funds to donate to if you have the funds. 

If you have any requests that need a boost, reply to this email. I’'ll prioritize LGBTQ and Texas-based people and groups. In solidarity <3