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It's June, and y'all know what that means! It's already been a rough start, with Target launching and then rolling back their Pride collection, among other things. I'm writing today for my fellow allies. If you're not aware, the far right is on an all out assault against LGBTQIA+ folks, especially trans people and queer youth. It's easy to think that since you're not part of the community that you don't need to worry, but this really impacts us all.

I'm not generally in the business of defending or evaluating the antics of large corporations, but I think the current situation with Target is important. Matt Walsh, a well known right-wing commentator, took to Twitter to say, “The goal is to make ‘pride’ toxic for brands. If they decide to shove this garbage in our face, they should know that they’ll pay a price. It won’t be worth whatever they think they’ll gain.” The pundits behind these campaigns of boycotts, assault, and property destruction have said that the purpose is to make it so that other brands will stay away from partnerships with LGBTQIA+ folks, and avoid anything to do with pride.

As I said, I don't usually care about defending a large corporation, and a lot of corporate pride feels pretty transparently like a money grab. That being said, when we're in this climate of record numbers of anti-trans laws, drag bans, "don't say gay" bills, and bathroom bills, we definitely need all the support we can get.

I know some cis-het folks who are fully unaware of any of the current legislation going against the queer community, and it's really important that we know what's going on and engage with our local legislators. A lot of this has been happening at the state or local level, so keeping up on what your state representatives are doing and communicating with them about it is really important!

It's also helpful to understand what some of these bills are actually banning. Many have targeted gender affirming care for minors, but the thing is that gender affirming care for minors can entail a lot of different things, and pretty rarely entails surgery. Gender affirming care might just mean using a person's correct pronouns, and calling them by whatever name they prefer. It might mean taking puberty blockers, to allow for some more time to think about what's next. There's a lot of bad info out there about gender affirming care, and some of it falls apart as soon as you think about it. I mean, ten-year-olds don't usually have breasts yet, so who is doing top surgery on them? It just doesn't make sense.

In my state of NJ, my state rep put forward a bill banning gender affirming care for minors. (Note: the headline on that article is a little confusing, the bill definitely did not pass.) It's pretty unlikely to get any traction here in NJ, but I made sure to reach out to my local rep and let him know that I don't agree with this bill. It might feel pointless sometimes, but if the only people our reps hear from are the weirdoes repeating after Matt Walsh, it's easy for them to think that is what their constituency wants.

I think my call to action here is this: straights, pay the frick attention! Contact your representatives, especially the local ones. We can't let these extremists claw back every bit of progress that the LGBTQIA+ community has fought for for the last fifty plus years.

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