“I have your back”: How the Biden administration is recognizing Trans Day of Visibility
From discussions with the community at the White House to student roundtables in Florida, trans Americans will be center stage in the face of unprecedented attacks at the state level.
I’m proud to stand in solidarity on Transgender Day of Visibility to uplift the trans and non-binary people who contribute their creativity to a world that has done too little to value the humanity we all deserve.
Just yesterday three bills were signed into law in Oklahoma and Arizona targeting transgender youth, adding to a coordinated campaign to discriminate against an already vulnerable community in an attempt to score political points and appeal to the fears of unknowing parents. (Many of these laws would be less effective if the Senate had the votes to pass the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.)
“We know their vicious efforts to force transgender youth into the shadows will not stop and neither will we. This clear and coordinated attempt to erase transgender youth from public life won’t work because public support, science, and the law are on our side,” Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings said in a statement to Supercreator. “Transgender Day of Visibility honors their courage, uplifts the beauty of the transgender community, and urges all of us to protect the most vulnerable in our communities wherever we are needed.”
It’s easy to believe we’ve arrived at an era of acceptance where everyone from historically marginalized communities feels safe and welcome to live a fully expressed identity.
But, as I wrote over the weekend, trans people are still vulnerable targets of discrimination because of a relative lack of the type of personal connection that would lend humanity to the population.
The White House plans to host transgender kids and their parents from around the country, alongside trans advocates who are leading the national movement for trans equality. The group will discuss the impact that legislative attacks are having on their communities. Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and Admiral Rachel Levine, the first trans government official to hold an office that requires Senate confirmation, will lead the conversation.
Emhoff will also meet with Amy Schneider — the first openly transgender Jeopardy! champion who won a historic 40-game streak, the second-longest in show history — to discuss the importance of advancing transgender visibility and equality.
In Florida, where Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed a controversial anti-LGBTQ bill into law, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will moderate a roundtable with transgender and other LGBTQ students. The discussion will focus on student mental health and well-being for LGBTQ youth.
The Department of Health and Human Services will fly a trans pride flag as well, becoming the first federal agency to fly this flag.
President Joe Biden will also speak to transgender Americans in a video address to follow up on the proclamation he signed on Wednesday honoring TDOV.
“Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know, and our nation and the world are stronger, more vibrant, and more prosperous because of them,” Biden said in the proclamation. “To transgender Americans of all ages, I want you to know that you are so brave. You belong. I have your back.”
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President Biden this morning will receive his daily intelligence briefing with Vice President Kamala Harris. He will then speak about the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on energy prices.
The House is in and will debate a bill to cap insulin prices at $35 per month.
The Senate is in and will consider the next steps on a COVID preparedness funding bill.
In the Know
The Defense Department believes President Vladimir Putin of Russia is getting bad intelligence from his military advisors because they’re too afraid to tell him that his strategy has failed so far. “The fact that he may not have all the context — that he may not fully understand the degree to which his forces are failing in Ukraine, that’s a little discomforting, to be honest with you,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Wednesday. (Julian E. Barnes, Lara Jakes and John Ismay / NYT)
47 percent of Americans say they worry a great deal about the availability and affordability of energy. But while Americans are more concerned about energy than they were a year ago, they are no more likely than last year to predict there will be a critical energy shortage in the US in the near term. (Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup)
66 percent of adults say that they would support the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court if they were senators. Support for the judge, who is likely to be confirmed next week, has increased since her confirmation hearings last week. (Marquette Law School)
The Biden administration is expected in May to end Title 42, a public health order that allowed border officials to quickly expel undocumented migrants —even those seeking asylum — to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus at border facilities and in border communities. There have been 1.7 million expulsions under the two-year order. (Eileen Sullivan / NYT)
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona signed a bill into law that bans almost all abortions in the state after 15 weeks. It makes an exception for medical emergencies and requires physicians to file a report with the Arizona Department of Health Services if an abortion is performed after 15 weeks. The Supreme Court is expected to uphold a similar law in Mississippi this summer. (Shawna Mizelle and Paradise Afshar / CNN)
The Department of Health and Human Services awarded $256.6 million in grant funding to support over 75 family planning clinics that deliver high-quality Title X services. Title X is legally designed to prioritize the needs of low-income families or uninsured people — including those who are not eligible for Medicaid — who might not otherwise have access to these health care services.
The Department of Energy announced a new $3 billion program that will allow states to retrofit thousands of low-income homes to make them healthier and more energy-efficient. The White House says the program will enable more homeowners to save hundreds of dollars per year while making homes more resilient to climate change and extreme temperatures.
Apple is reportedly developing its own payment processing technology and infrastructure for future financial products. The project is called Blackout and is part of an effort that would reduce over time its reliance on outside partners for financial services. (Mark Gurman / Bloomberg)
YouTube is planning tighter integration, monetization and analytics for podcasts. The video app is also considering a dedicated homepage for podcasts and featuring audio ads to generate revenue that it would likely split between parent company Google and podcasters. (Podnews)
Sellers on the e-commerce app Etsy are asking shoppers to boycott on April 11th and April 18th in solidarity as they protest of recent changes to the app. More than 5,000 sellers have signed on to strike and shop owners are welcome to go offline for the full period or even a day — whatever they can afford to do. (Mia Sato / The Verge)
Music artist Lizzo launched her own shapewear brand. It’s called Yitty the first release will feature three different collections available in sizes ranging from 6X to XS. “I was tired of seeing this sad, restrictive shapewear that literally no one wanted to wear,” Lizzo said. “I had an epiphany like, ‘who can actually do something about this?’ I decided to take on the challenge of allowing women to feel unapologetically good about themselves again.” (Emily Kirkpatrick / Vanity Fair)
Read All About It
Olga Khazan on why strange behavior has soared recently:
One likely explanation for the spike in bad behavior is the rage, frustration, and stress coursing through society right now. When Christine Porath, a business professor at Georgetown University, collected data on why people behave in rude or uncivil ways, “the No. 1 reason by far was feeling stressed or overwhelmed,” she told me.
The pandemic has created a lot of “high-stress, low-reward” situations, said Keith Humphreys, a psychiatry professor at Stanford, and now everyone is teetering slightly closer to their breaking point. Someone who may have lost a job, a loved one, or a friend to the pandemic might be pushed over the edge by an innocuous request.
“When someone has that angry feeling, it’s because of a combination of some sort of provocation, their mood at the time of that provocation, and then how they interpret that provocation,” said Ryan Martin, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay who studies anger. Not only are people encountering more “provocations”—staffing shortages, mask mandates—but also their mood is worse when provoked. “Americans don’t really like each other very much right now,” he added.
Jonathan Reisman on mucus:
Precisely because the body’s many fenestrations are not easily guarded, mucus is essential. As a universal defense weapon and survival strategy, mucus flows outward from all of them in a steady, unending tide to keep microbes out—they’d have to swim upstream against a viscous current to get in. Keeping our membranes perpetually moist is also essential for maintaining their health and integrity, and mucus accomplishes this as lubrication with a staying power that plain water could never muster. Though mucus is often annoying and repulsive, it shouldn’t be hated—instead, in the right balance, it is the key to how we stay healthy against an onslaught of invaders. And in healthy times, we make only enough to coat our surfaces with a thin veneer, the minimum needed to carry out its protective mission unnoticed.
Brooke LaMantia on anxiety and friendship:
I do want my friends to know what my sparkle is — just without seeing it on their “For You” page. I want them to be conscious of what I’m dealing with and then to check in with me about it in a real, taking-it-seriously sort of way. Like when I struggle to decide where I want us to go to eat because my anxiety makes me see the world as black and white, right and wrong, impacting my ability to make decisions. Instead of laughing about it or rolling their eyes, I want them to say, “There’s no wrong answer — don’t let your anxiety get in the way,” or “It’s okay — we’ll decide tonight.”
So what if we normalized talking about our anxiety before the crisis? If instead, a week earlier, I told my friend, “I feel like Saturday night is going to be very overwhelming,” and she asked “Why?” Or if next time a friend texts a depression meme, instead of “LOL,” I answer “Relatable. How are you doing, though?” Truthfully, I share memes about my anxiety, too — and I probably won’t stop anytime soon. (I mean, they are funny.) But I’m also trying just as often to be a little more intentional about checking in with my friends and communicating how much I need their check-ins in return. It’s not as easy as laughing it off, but it’s a good — better — start.
B.A. Parker on the price of being invited to the party:
When Rock delivered his G.I. Jane punch line, the camera cut to Pinkett Smith, who, unlike the rest of the room, was not laughing. It’s unclear if Rock knew that Pinkett Smith has alopecia, but given that he made an entire documentary about the nuances and sensitivities around Black women’s hair, it’s hard to think he doesn’t know what he’s doing when he mocks a Black woman in front of a majority white viewing audience. Yes, they are millionaires having a tiff in mixed company, but it was also just one more instance of a Black woman being othered and belittled and expected to grin and bear it. The only difference is that this time, someone stood up for her.
Stephanie McNeal on the next generation of YouTube creators:
Diversifying their revenue streams is something that many major content creators in every industry have been attempting over the past few years. Many are doing so not just because they are frustrated with the platforms, as some influencers described to me earlier this year, but because they are tired of the content creation grind. YouTubers, many of whom felt pressure to share every facet of their lives for years, are hitting a level of burnout that feels unsustainable.
These examples, when taken together, seem to note a change in the winds of YouTube. Many of the old guard seem burnt out and tired of the demands that this online form of celebrity has put on them, and seem to be moving on from the days of pushing the limit for wilder and more shocking videos, or toxic drama, for clicks. And while it’s made them a lot of money, it seems more and more of YouTube’s biggest stars are facing personal reckonings about whether or not it’s been worth it. Or, at the very least, if it’s sustainable as a long-term career.
So is a new, more wholesome YouTube on the horizon? Or is the toxic culture so entrenched that creators need to move to new platforms altogether for their rebrands?
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