The abortion rights movement is unjust if it excludes trans people
“Our fight is intersectional and we all have to be fighting together,” a Black nonbinary trans activist said to Supercreator. Plus: News from a doozy of a day and the latest on Brittney Griner.
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! Welcome back to Supercreator, your now twice-weekly guide to the politicians, policies and power brokers shaping how online creators and their supporters work and live in the new economy.
Today has been a doozy of a news day! I had to make some brutal editorial decisions to strike the sweet spot I’m always aiming for — substantive and thoughtful without making you feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I think you’ll be pleased with what made the cut:
Perspective from a nonbinary trans man on why the conversation about abortion care must include his community
The status of negotiations on an extension of the tax credits that helped almost 15 million people get health insurance but are set to expire at the end of the year
Where things stand with Brittney Griner’s case a day before she’s scheduled to go to trial in Russia
But let’s start with the institution this newsletter has been focused on for the past week: The Supreme Court.
The court wrapped up its term and with it, Justice Stephen Breyer tied a bow on his nearly 30-year career on the bench. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in to replace Breyer, whom she previously clerked for, as the first Black woman to sit on the court.
Before all of this took place, the court’s 6-3 conservative supermajority flexed its influence once again, this time in a decision that limits the Biden administration’s authority to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from power plants — a significant contributor to climate change. Democrats, including President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer and climate hawks like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are pissed about the decision and say it imperils the planet further than it already is.
It wasn’t all bad news though: The court ruled that the Biden administration can end a Trump-era policy known as “Remain in Mexico” that forced people from another country seeking asylum in America to wait for approval in Mexico. The president tried to end the program when he took office but Texas and Missouri sued to keep it in place. Look for immigration reform to be a hot topic when Congress returns from its recess in a week, especially in the wake of the single deadliest migrant smuggling case in US history.
President Biden also made news this morning in Madrid, Spain when he expressed support for an exception to a Senate procedure that would enable Democrats to codify the federal protections enshrined in Roe v. Wade without Republican support (you may have heard this referred to as a “filibuster carveout”).
He previously took a similar position on voting rights but as they were with that issue, Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are against a filibuster carveout to restore the right to abortion care. Still, it’s significant that Biden, who spent 36 years in the Senate and reveres the institution, publicly endorsed the exception. When given the chance though, he declined to comment on if he would declare restrictions on abortion care a public health crisis. (The president said he will have more announcements on his administration’s response to the overturning of Roe after a meeting with governors tomorrow.)
ICYMI, Biden returned from Europe today after attending the G7 Summit in Germany and a NATO Summit in aforementioned Spain. He took a victory lap during a press conference, calling the meeting between the heads of the government a “historic summit” that demonstrates the alliance is stronger and more united than ever — an outcome President Vladimir Putin was hoping to avoid when he invaded Ukraine. The alliance welcomed two new countries into the fold (Finland and Sweden), updated its mission statement to rebuke Russia and articulate the threat China poses, and the US has strengthened its military capabilities in Europe just in case something pops off overseas. But Biden’s domestic challenges have tended to overshadow his foreign policy achievements to the frustration of the president and his aides.
Speaking of Ukraine, President Biden said the United States would support the country with military assistance until a peace settlement is negotiated or Ukraine wins the war. He also said Americans should be prepared to pay a premium for gas and food for as long as Putin is weaponizing grain and until the global community can drive down Russia’s oil revenues.
Programming note: Supercreator will not publish on Monday, July 4th. I’ll return with a new post next Thursday, July 7th. Send me your best tips, burning questions and most interesting story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me at @bymichaeljones. Here’s to a weekend of restoration in whatever ways your mind, body and soul need it.
Trans and nonbinary people get abortions too
Anyone who can become pregnant, including queer, trans and intersex people — may at some point require abortion care. But you wouldn’t know this from much of the mainstream discourse around the issue, which often centers on women while erasing the experiences of trans men, nonbinary, bisexual, pansexual, lesbian and queer people.
“I’m not oblivious, right? I know the majority of people — one in four women — who get abortions. So I know the largest audience that people in reproductive justice are speaking to are women. I get that,” Cazembe Murphy Jackson, a Black queer trans organizer based in Georgia, said to Supercreator. “And they’re not the only ones that get abortions. So it paints an unclear picture of what kind of care needs to be provided at these clinics where people are going to get abortions.”
Jackson identifies as a nonbinary trans person. (He shared his own abortion story in a searing essay for Esquire earlier this week.)
“So when you look at me, you may not have those same questions. But there are some trans people who completely pass as if they are [cisgender] men who can also still get pregnant.” he told me. “And they do and they have abortions and they deserve gender-affirming care.” (Cisgender describes a person who identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth.)
Jackson told me the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe impacts the trans community because trans people are typically some of the most marginalized people at the intersections of being poor, of color or in a region that will now restrict access to care.
But during our conversation, Jackson said he struggled to separate the impact on specifically trans people because there are so many issues wrapped up in reproductive justice — like access to safe housing, healthy drinking water and the ability to actually make a choice about whether or not you want to be pregnant or a parent.
I asked him how people who claim to be allies and political leaders can make sure that the trans community is included in the conversation about how to rebuild abortion access for everyone who needs it.
“I do think it’s sometimes as simple as language. I’m always telling other organizers and activists to just say who it is that you mean when you’re saying people are welcome or this event if soft them or this movement if for them,” Jackson said. “Say trans or nonbinary people if those are the people that you’re talking about.”
Jackson said equity requires fewer allies and more co-conspirators.
“To me, an ally is somebody who sympathizes with you. They think that your fight is important,” he said. “They might wear a short or put a Black Lives Matter sign in their yard. Maybe even donate to an organization. But they don’t see it as their fight. They see it as your fight and them helping you with it.”
Jackson then used an analogy he first heard from his grandmother to explain a co-conspirator.
“She used to say, you act differently when your house is on fire, then when your neighbor's house is on fire. So if your neighbor's house is on fire. Yeah, you might call the fire department, might even try to get some water to spray on it to help out, but it's not the same intensity as if your own house is on fire,” he said. “So what a co-conspirator would do, in my opinion, and in that example, a co-conspirator lives in the house with me, you know what I'm saying? And so it's urgent to both of us because we recognize that fire is going to spread from my room to your room.”
All you have to do is look at recent history to realize Jackson isn’t speaking in abstractions.
“You know earlier in the year, we saw all of these attacks on trans youth and then from there went to taking the rights to bodily autonomy away,” he said before referring to Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion that called on the Supreme Court to revisit the precedents that established protections to the right of married people to obtain contraceptives, the right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts and the right right to same-sex marriage.
“That’s why our fight is intersectional and we all have to be fighting together, he said. “Because if you don't think it's your fight right now and you just call yourself an ally, when you realize that it is your fight, you’re going to be so far behind that it’s hard to catch up — and we don't want anybody to be left behind.”
Democratic governors join the push to extend ACA premiums
The push to extend a series of tax credits passed under the American Rescue Plan from expiring received the support of over a dozen Democratic governors who sent a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate calling on them to make sure Congress funds the subsidies beyond this year.
“As we have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, access to affordable health insurance can sometimes mean the difference between life or death,” the 14 governors wrote. “At a time when governments at all levels are struggling to find ways to reduce costs for the American people, we cannot allow the looming specter of rising health costs to cause more uncertainty and stress for American families.”
The enhanced tax credits enabled 14.5 million to sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) and save them hundreds of dollars on their monthly health care costs.
Although the credits won’t officially expire until the end of the year, recipients will start to receive notices that the benefit will lapse just ahead of the November midterm elections. And as I reported last week, if Congress fails to act, premiums will increase by thousands for millions of Americans and exclude some three million people from coverage altogether. (Three states — Florida, Georgia and Texas — will make up half of the increase of uninsured Americans if the tax credits are allowed to expire, according to Protect Our Care.)
Senate Democrats would prefer to extend the credits in a budget bill, which would enable them to bypass Republican opposition with a simple majority. But Sen. Manchin of West Virginia hasn’t blessed this proposal yet and he’s the swing vote on this issue. I’m told by a Democratic congressional aid that negotiations are ongoing and are on Sen. Manchin’s radar.
Brittney Griner’s day in court
If you read Monday’s post, then you know the trial for US basketball star Brittney Griner is scheduled to start on Friday in Russia.
But there’s little optimism that the 31-year-old, who has been wrongfully detained since February when she was accused of carrying cannabis oil in her luggage, will receive a fair trial because, as legal expert Aron Solomon told me in April, Russia doesn’t have a rule of law as we know it in the US and there’s no one who can hold its judicial accountable for what would perceive as constitutional violations.
While the Biden administration has shared few details about their engagements with Russia, officials say they are actively negotiating Griner’s release.
“I will tell you it has the fullest attention of the president and every senior member of his national security and diplomatic team, National Security AdvisorJake Sullivan said to reporters en route to Madrid on Tuesday. “And we are actively working to find a resolution to this case and will continue to do so without rest until we get Brittney safely home.”
Sullivan added that he and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have spoken with Brittney’s wife Cherelle in the last few days to express their deep sympathy for what she, Brittney and their family are going through. But Griner’s family and civil rights leaders are calling on the Biden administration to cut a deal with Russia for Griner’s release due to Russia’s well-known hostility toward queer people. (Griner is a lesbian.)
Griner’s attorney said she will remain in custody until the trial ends. If she’s convicted, Griner could face up to 10 years in exile.
Read All About It
— Jemele Hill on why she’s talking about her abortion: “I’ve never regretted it and other women need the choice I had.”
— Liza Featherstone on the joy of saving the world: “Research suggests a surprising motive for environmentalism: feeling good.”
— Ben Jacobs on how Iowa fell in love with the Republican Party: “Barack Obama won the state twice. Now Democrats are an endangered species there.”
— Jason Zengerle on the vanishing moderate Democrat: “Their positions are popular. So why are they going extinct?”
— Rita Omokha on Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida: “The former police chief helped impeach Donald Trump and survived an insurrection — now the third-term congresswoman has her eyes on the Senate. ‘In Val there’s hope,’ says fellow representative Robin Kelly, ‘that we can move closer to that promise of America.’”
— Siobhan McDonough on why giving people cash is usually better than shipping them food: “Another thing cash can do: fight global hunger.”
— Hannah Natanson on Gay-Straight Alliance clubs, which have come under attack at schools nationwide: “These groups have been common and accepted in schools for two decades, offering a place for LGBTQ students and allies to gather. But now, some conservative parents, pundits and politicians are alleging without presenting evidence that GSA clubs are sites of political indoctrination, where students are encouraged to assume LGBTQ identities without their parents’ knowledge.”
— Rebecca Jennings on Dimensional, the nontoxic social media app that tells you your toxic traits: “Basically, you take a series of personality quizzes, and then the app compares you to your loved ones who are also on the app: how similarly you behave in the workplace, how compatible you are in love, whether you share the same values.”
— Jenni Avins on the couples who are serving mushroom microdoses at their weddings: “On the wedding circuit, a small dose of psilocybin offers something simpler: fun. Which is to say, an enhanced sense of open-heartedness, gratitude, connection, and presence — many giggles with no hangover.”