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Biden Victory a Win for LGBTQ Rights

Gay news and noteworthy articles for the week of November 13, 2020

Joe Biden was named winner of the 2020 election by all major TV networks, including Fox News, last Saturday after amassing 273 electoral votes. The count currently stands at 290 votes for Mr. Biden to 214 for Donald Trump, with only Georgia and North Carolina as yet undecided. Mr. Trump and the GOP have yet to acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory.

President-Elect Biden’s victory is a clear win for LGBTQ rights. During his campaign, Mr. Biden laid out a detailed “plan to advance LGBTQ+ equality in America and around the world.” He has named a number of LGBTQ people to his transition team, including Dave Noble, the gay executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, and there is extensive speculation that Pete Buttigieg could win a cabinet post. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign has laid out a number of executive actions Mr. Biden can take to advance equality, including implementation of last June’s Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, which found that federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Other actions, such as passage of the Equality Act, remain in limbo while control of the Senate hangs on two runoff races to be held in Georgia in January.

In other U.S. political news, more than 220 LGBTQ candidates won office in last week’s elections, and queer “representation in Congress will hit an all-time high next session.” In Maine, Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford is expected to become the first openly gay speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. And in California, Martin Jenkins was confirmed as the first openly gay justice on the California Supreme Court.

James Finn writes that the pope’s endorsement of same-sex civil unions was not, in fact, what it appeared to be. Pope Francis meant to endorse civil unions for parents of gay children, not civil unions with parental rights for gay couples themselves. More than one in three children in foster care in New York City are LGBTQ; often they do not find acceptance in the foster system just as they were rejected by their biological parents. And spurred by assaults on LGBTQ rights in Poland, Hungary, and elsewhere, the European Union has a released a new plan to combat homophobia and transphobia.

In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik weighs in on the very French dispute over a campaign to move the remains of poets and lovers Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud to the Pantheon in Paris. A new podcast, Love and War, tells “the untold gay history of Britain’s First World War poets,” including Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and Rupert Brooke. In The New York Times, Chibuihe Obi Achimba reflects on his attempt to escape stigmatization for being gay in Nigeria by coming to the United States only to find himself once again stigmatized, here for being a Black man. And in The Guardian, Eammon Ashton-Atkinson writes about playing gay rugby—and making a movie about it.

The deadline for the Tom of Finland Emerging Artist Competition is this Sunday, November 15th. So if you are an “emerging artist” in the “field of erotic art,” there is still time to submit your latest works, whether masterpieces or “midnight doodles.” Some 40,000 Trump supporters were conned into joining a Facebook group called “Gay Communists for Socialism.” And Ritz crackers has released a holiday ad featuring a queer family; we eagerly await complaints from “One Million Moms” and their “fight against indecency.”

Illustration by gay·F·fect: Photograph of Joe Biden as vice-president in 2016 (U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/CC BY 2.0), rainbow flag (Wikimedia Commons/public domain).

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