Weekly round-up and open thread

Welcome to the latest round-up of the interesting and important stories we’ve been checking out over the past week. This one kicks off with the latest editorial article from ColorsxStudios in Germany. The piece features members of Nigeria’s LGBTQIA+ community reflecting on a range of issues – such as the impact of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act 2013 (SSMPA) and the harms that trans Nigerians face from their country’s police unit and wider society – but also discussing the joy and hope that can be found in queer communities.

And if you’re feeling in need of some joy in this bittersweet summer heat, do check out the COLORSXSTUDIOS YouTube channel, where a variety of artists each showcase their vocals against a striking and yet undistracting backdrop of a single bright colour. (I’ve popped a gorgeous performance from Cleo Sol at the bottom of this post.)

The usual caveats apply to this round-up: the articles haven’t been endorsed by the whole team and, while we do our best to add appropriate content notes, some links may contain further upsetting details about oppression and injustice, so please click with caution.

On the subject of comments, we unfortunately haven’t been able to take on any new subscribers due to a technical issue. (Big thanks to my friend Asim for recently highlighting this!) So, if you’re already registered as a subscriber and notice we’ve missed out any important articles/issues from the past week (or simply want to share your thoughts) you can get in touch with us via the comment form at the bottom of this page. But, if you aren’t, you have the option to swing by our Twitter account or Facebook page instead!

“Love conquers all”: The prohibition of love through the eyes of Nigeria’s queer community (Tami Makinde, Colors X Editorial)
[CN: homophobia, transphobia, violent threat]
From the article: “Despite the continued violence many LGBTQ Nigerians face, many are finding ways to be intimate and commune with their loved ones away from the prying eyes of authorities. For non-binary content creator Nifemi*, they do this by spending quality time with queer friends. ‘I refer to [my friends] as my queer siblings because they are my chosen family. We all draw strength from each other and are always there for each other. It’s so amazing to share queer joy,’ they share.

“This spirit of intimacy and community is fostered all across the country’s LGBTQ+ community. Derin* and her friends regularly host queer get-togethers and parties that pull together people from widely different backgrounds. She shares that her inner circle consists of ‘people from everywhere, irrespective of where you come from: Christians, Muslims…'”

More than 20,000 people march in solidarity for London Trans Pride (Jordan King, Metro)
From the article: “Organisers of London Trans+ Pride said: ‘On Trans Day of Visibility the UK government announced it would move ahead with banning conversion therapy for homosexuals, but not for trans people: the irony is not lost on us, this is an abhorrent and deliberate attack…”

“The Community Needed This Day”: London’s Trans+ Pride March Was A Display Of Strength And Solidarity (Bex Wade, Vogue)
From the article: “The trans community needed this day. We needed to feel seen, to take back those streets which have hurt us, and in doing so find a sense of belonging that feels so precious. We needed to march, in remembrance of those we’ve lost, and as an acknowledgment of those we might lose if this persistent persecution is allowed to prevail. Trans joy is powerful and we’re ready to keep fighting for the rights we deserve.”

I’m a trans man who plays rugby – I’m sick of us being treated like we’re inferior (Verity Smith, Metro) [via Lissy]
From the article: “What could’ve been a great space for a progressive conversation around inclusion became an attack on a policy that had actually been working well since 2004, with no reported injuries in England since the trans inclusion policy had been in place, allowing trans women and girls to compete under the rules set out in the previous policy”

Non-binary doesn’t look like you think it does – I would know (Emma Flint, The Independent)
From the article: “The conditioning we’ve endured for centuries has only served to shrink our world, and with it, our understanding of who and what we are. We don’t have to look or act a certain way to belong.

“This is why it’s important to realise that non-binary doesn’t ‘have a look’. If you think we do, that is largely down to pop culture only highlighting one small example of non-binary to better package it to the masses. The same is seen with sexualities – lesbians are butch, gay men are effeminate, and bisexuals are promiscuous. Yes, sex and gender are two separate entities, but when it comes down to how they’re limited through representation, they’re inseparable.”

International Non-Binary Day: What it feels like to ‘come out’ in Glasgow (Adam McGeoch shares their experience with Carla Jenkins, Glasgow Live)
From the article: “I felt that when I was a teen, that question was always in the back of my head, thinking ‘do I want to be a woman? Because I don’t think I want to be a masculine type of man, so what am I?'”

20 trailblazing non-binary celebs you need to know (Megan Wallace, Cosmopolitan)
From the article: “This year’s Non-Binary Day comes at a time when more and more people are waking up to the idea that gender isn’t a binary: it’s a spectrum. Far from having two fixed genders, there’s actually a wealth of experiences in between: from gender fluidity to being agender.”

‘Why I invented Non-binary Day’ (Katje van Loon, with BBC gender and identity correspondent, Megha Mohan)
From the article: “[My mother] would be as comfortable fixing things around the house as she was while teaching her students, or caring for me.

“I was like her in my embrace of non-traditional gender roles. But unlike her I existed somewhere else. It wasn’t just that I didn’t feel ‘girly’, or was taller, and larger and less feminine. It was more than that: the label ‘woman’ just didn’t fit me.”

Including non-binary people doesn’t mean excluding anyone else – it benefits us all (Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, Metro)
From the article: “Calls for accommodation in language, such as using ‘passengers’ or ‘guests’, ‘ladies, gentlemen and everyone else’ instead of just ‘ladies and gentlemen’ is … not erasure of anyone, but an inclusion of more people.

“The same goes for terms such as ‘pregnant people’ or ‘people with a uterus’ – it isn’t an attempt to erase women.

“Those terms are used to try and encompass everyone that has a uterus or can get pregnant, such as trans men and non-binary people. This is simply a matter of making sure everyone is included.”

50 years of Pride: Why I marched with Gay Liberation Front (Prishita Maheshwari-Aplin, gal-dem)
From the article: “‘This is the real Pride; there’s just no two ways about it,’ GLF member Dani told me. ‘Some of the original members were my age 50 years ago. And now I’m here. The weight of that is beautiful. It’s like a weighted blanket; it’s cosy and warm and it’s grounding. I love it.’

“The joy I felt didn’t stem from contentment or a delusion that the work here is done. It was a bittersweet celebration, but one rooted in a deep-seated awareness of our strength as a community, and pure exhilaration at the numbers that are willing to be visible and show up for one another. Because the fight isn’t over.”
[Check out our round-up from 4 July for more about the GLF and Pride!]

Agenda: Can Scotland lead the way in tackling music’s invisible problem? (Jane Stynes, Yahoo! News)
[On representation of women behind the scenes in music, such as in production and engineering.]

House of Commons calls for evidence about misogyny in music in the UK (Aneesa Ahmed, Mixmag)

As the Lionesses roar their way through the Euros, why women’s football is the fastest growing sport right now (Sarah Ingram, Metro)

Dobbs, glass houses and international law (Juliet S Sorensen and Xiao Wang, Al Jazeera) [US]
From the article: “Countries around the world have expressed a renewed commitment to building on international and multilateral agreements. Yet by allowing states to ban abortion, the Supreme Court has staked a position that plainly runs afoul of the US’s treaty obligations.”

‘Demoralising and scary’: Women in UK react to US reversal of abortion rights (Charlene Rodrigues, euronews)
From the article: “We know that the anti-abortion activists have a global network and are emboldened when they get a win, especially the complete rollback of abortion rights that the overruling of Roe v Wade represents” [Kerry Abel, Chair of the UK’s pro-choice campaign Abortion Rights].

1,500 march to defend abortion rights in London (Isabel Ringrose, Socialist Worker)
Pro-choice activists marched through central London [9 July] to defend abortion rights in Britain—and show solidarity with protesters in the US.

Key ingredients to women’s legal rights in Kenya (Catherine N. Githae, Emilia Galiano, Fredrick Nyagah and Isabel Santagostino Recavarren, World Bank Blog)
[CN: general references to VAW]
From the article: “The adoption of the PADV [Protection Against Domestic Violence] Act in 2015 represents just one example in the long struggle for equal rights in Kenya, started in the early 1990s. After the 1992 elections, increasing attention was given to women’s rights in the country, with gender equality permanently becoming, from that moment onwards, part of the government agenda.”

Ariana Magazine: The Afghan Voices we Should all be Listening To (Safeera Sarjoo, browngirl)
From the article: “Undoing the damage mainstream media has done is no easy feat but London-based journalist Ariana Abawe has been on a mission to dispel what people think they know about her native Afghanistan by starting Ariana Magazine, which places Afghans at the forefront, showcasing the country’s culture and talent.”

Sex Workers Fleeing War in Ukraine Face a Harsh New Reality (Ruby Lott-Lavigna, Vice)
[CN: war, oppression]
From the article: “It’s not just Ukrainian sex workers travelling across borders who have been affected by the war. Taking advantage of the invasion, Poland’s ruling right-wing Law and Justice party has used trafficking fears to introduce legislation that has further clamped down on sex work. The government, known for its conservative policies including banning abortion, has used the war to increase fines against trafficking, as well as fines for people managing sex work venues, conflating the two issues.”

Reni Eddo-Lodge on anti-racism: ‘The backlash amazes me’ (The Guardian) [via Lissy]
[CN: racist violence]
From the article: “I used to believe that making the case for a just society would be met with enthusiasm, not vitriol. But anywhere the cause of anti-racism has convinced enough of the general populace, a cruel defence of the status quo has quickly followed. What exactly needs to be preserved evades me. I am still unsure of what might be lost if some Black authors are added to a curriculum, or if a city adds some of the uglier parts of its history to a plaque celebrating the pretty bits.”

How misogynoir in the music industry has created a dangerous environment for Black women (Kelechi Okafor, Mixmag)
[CN: racism, misogyny, abuse]
From the article: “The truth is that the UK music industry its woefully behind regarding the #MeToo movement because most women in the industry feel that their position and success are in precarious situations as it stands. We know that a wall of silence, shaming and gaslighting is adopted by men, and in some cases enabled by other women, when women speak out about the ways in which they’ve been violated. The culture of predatory behaviour exists on a spectrum: from the way that some Black men support and encourage white artists and DJs to disrespect Black women online and in person, to the way that dark-skinned female artists are spoken about in comparison to their lighter skinned counterparts. These Black women are in danger regardless of the shade of their skin, however the oppressive dynamic shifts slightly when cloaked in the desirability for lighter skinned women.”

Jasveer Singh: Rishi Sunak Becoming UK PM Would Be A Dangerous Outcome For Sikhs (Baaz) [via Lissy]
From the article: “Whilst Sunak himself has not been directly behind any of the UK targeting of Sikh activism, that is likely because his role as Chancellor of the Exchequer did not require him to be so. For anyone wondering where his loyalties may lie in such situations, Sunak was vocally supportive of the UK’s most Anti-Sikh politician, Priti Patel, when she was being exposed for “bullying” her office workers. He called Patel “kind” and said the two have worked together “closely”. Patel is an open supporter of the Hindu extremist outfit RSS and has not yet explained her anti-Sikh comments and actions in recent times.”

Young Black people change names and appearance to fit in at work study finds (Vic Motune, Voice)
From the article: “Only 31 per cent of Black Gen Z members feel able to be their authentic selves, compared to 66 per cent of White Gen Z. the research found. This means the vast majority of Black Gen Z feel the need to change their self-presentation to ‘fit in’ with their colleagues.”

The problem with TikTok’s ‘clean girl’ aesthetic (Tiana Randall, i-D)
[CN: colorism, classism, misogyny]
From the article: “The concealment of labor and exertion eternalizes that the no-makeup makeup looks we’ve been doing is a method to disguise looks of stress related to poverty, illness, or the failure to suppress the body’s natural secretion.”

A Letter of Support (Emmanuel, NeuroClastic)
[CN: general references to anxiety and depression, burnout, trauma]
From the article: “I must admit how this world operates at its core: its lack of humanity, its elitist-driven power structure, and its need for violence are disgustingly toxic. They don’t care about what their toxicity does to humanity and the environment as a whole.

“So if you are reading this, take care of yourself out there. Do good. Say what you need to say. Be kind. I’m rooting for you as much as I root for myself. If you can’t do much, then do what you can.”

Sarah Everard: Two women to face trial for attending Clapham Common vigil after Met Police prosecution (Jessica Frank-Keyes, London World)
[CN: injustice, general references to VAW]

Zawe Ashton on feeling galvanised after new film about violence against women (Naomi Clarke, Belfast Telegraph)
[CN: general references to VAW and assault reporting]
Maryland will air on at 10pm, 20 July on BBC Two.

Ex Love Islander slams ITV for ‘double standards’ over Adam Collard’s OnlyFans (Victoria Johns, Mirror)

Baopu #101: Effortlessly High Expectations [webcomic] (Yao Xiao, Autostraddle)

This week’s links were sourced and compiled by Holly, with thanks to Lissy for contributions.

The featured image is an adaption of the Non-binary Pride flag, which has horizontal strips of yellow (thin), white (thick), purple (thick) and black (thin). It is by Kye Rowan and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

The embedded YouTube video shows Cleo Sol, a British singer-songwriter of Serbian-Spanish and Jamaican heritage, singing her song ‘Why Don’t You’ into a dropdown microphone in a bare peach coloured room with a white floor. Her shiny black hair is pulled into a bun and she wears a long-sleeved orange cropped top and white jeans. Subtitles/closed captions available via YouTube.

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