Link Roundup #2

Anti-abortion bills on the move, lesbian bars during the pandemic, and non-voters in the Valley

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An update: I’m still working on getting the newsletter setup somewhere else that is not Substack. I’ll probably move it towards the end of the month. 

Now for some links! 

In the News

+ On March 30, the Texas Senate passed seven extreme anti-abortion bills. Now, the House will hear their companion bills in committees. Today the Texas House Public Health Committee held a hearing for six anti-abortion bills. Tomorrow the House State Affairs Committee will hear another anti-abortion bill. 

HOW TO TAKE ACTION: Avow, formally known as NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, has a guide on how to submit a public comment against the bills. The Lilith Fund has instructions on how to contact the chairs for these committees

+ A new report from the LGBTQ Victory Institute outlines the barriers LGBTQ women face when running for public office. Among the reasons for not running: financial barriers and the threat of violence based on their gender and sexuality. “I don’t know a woman politician who hasn’t been threatened in some way, or insulted and attacked on social media,” former Houston Mayor and President of the Victory Institute Annise Parker told The Lily. “But for LGBT women, the threats go up.” 

+ The Houston Chronicle found that about 200 people died from the winter storm in Texas, that’s twice the amount the state reported. One hundred of those people died from hypothermia. 100! Sixteen died from carbon monoxide poisoning and 22 died from medical devices failing without electricity. About 74 percent of the people who died were people of color. These deaths could have all been prevented. 

+ From The Barriers that Keep Trans People From Thriving in Texas: “The message sent to trans people? We don’t want you in our public places. The goal is to keep trans bodies from receiving care. The goal is to keep trans people out of society, whether that means scaring us into isolation or letting us die. The introduction of these bills encourages members of the public to fabricate ‘what if’ scenarios to incite fear to and justify violence against trans individuals, specifically trans women.” Read the rest of the Autostraddle and Transgender Law Center series focused on regions with the highest anti-trans violence. 

+ I don’t know what to make of this story about non-voters in the Valley. The Valley was barely blue in the 2020 election and this story points to apathetic voters bogged down by the economic and health impacts of the pandemic and not the rise of conservatism as the reason that happened. The story centers on one 23-year-old non-voter in the Valley and I mean, I wanted to hear from more than just one dude from La Feria. It fell flat and didn’t really capture the significance of the motivation behind non-voters in the Valley. 

+ Meet the 21-year-old helping to fund abortions in Texas

+ There are only 16 lesbian bars left in the country and they’re struggling to stay open during the pandemic. In Texas, we’ve got Sue Ellen’s in Dallas and Pearl Bar in Houston. 

+ For Spectrum South, I spoke to Dr. Laura McGuire, a queer and non-binary sexologist and sex educator, about their debut book, Creating Cultures of Consent. The book is a guide to talking to kids about consent as a parent or teacher. Consent doesn’t have to be tied to sex ed. It’s an interpersonal skill we all should be talking about more. 

Read, Watch, Listen

🎧 Anything for Selena. I had heard so many great things about this podcast but I stopped myself from listening to it. I’ve loved Selena for as long as I can remember. I dressed up as her in 2nd grade and performed Dreaming of You for the school talent show and won 3rd place. One of the first essays I wrote for Autostraddle was about why she’s so important to me

But a little after I wrote that essay, it seemed everything Latine-related in the media was about Selena and I was so tired of it. Sites like mitú, Remezcla, Buzzfeed’s Pero Like, capitalized on millennial Latine’s nostalgia by making content about Selena. There was also the rise of Latine-identity products — you know, concha keychains and stickers that say Chingona, that type of shit — that sold a bunch of Selena merch too. I was Selena-fatigued and I wanted everyone to leave her alone. I loved her music growing up. Even now as an adult, I’m still so blown away by her voice. Selena was SO SO talented, no doubt. I just hate the way people have reduced her to an image and further capitalized on her image in the name of Latinidad. 

I stopped myself from listening to this podcast because I was afraid it was gonna do Selena wrong. I was also skeptical and preemptively bored of the podcast — what in the world can you add to the discourse around Selena that hasn’t already been said?? With the last day of March marking the anniversary of Selena’s death and April bringing her 50th birthday, I decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did.

Journalist Maria Garcia, an El Paso native and host of the podcast, brings so much depth and warmth when talking about Selena’s role in her life and the lives of so many Latines. So far, I’ve listened to three episodes and I’ve gotten chills every time I listen. I think it was the clips of Como La Flor and Baila Esta Cumbia that did it for me but Garcia does an incredible job of bringing insight and nuance to the memory of Selena. I connect to Garcia’s personal stories of growing up on the border and appreciate how she connects these stories to inform us of how we understand and know Selena. I’m hooked and I’m going to keep on listening.