By Aisha and Danielle Moodie-Mills
Who’s Been Naughty and Who’s Been Nice?
From reaching a transgender tipping point to a shooting that sparked a movement, we’re applauding those who are helping to move our country forward. And for those who landed on the naughty list—we’re watching you!
The Year of Laverne: From the cover of Time magazine and an Emmy nomination for her role as Sophia on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black to her latest endeavor, The T Word on Logo, which takes viewers inside the lives of seven trans youth, Laverne Cox has been busy. She is a case study for any celeb who wants to use their platform for good.
Janet Mock Redefines Realness: Not only did Janet Mock become a New York Times best-selling author for her memoir Redefining Realness, but she was also named a contributing editor for Marie Claire magazine, where she first publicly shared her story. Whether she’s chatting with bell hooks or giving us our pop culture fix, Janet is a woman who’s keeping it real—real fabulous.
Director Justin Simien Flips the Script: “It’s like Oprah and Spike Lee had some pissed-off baby.” This is just one of the incredibly funny lines from the film Dear White People by Justin Simien. The out director uses satire to start thoughtful convos about race, plus the lead character is Black and gay…and not in a tragic way. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, put it on your holiday must-view list.
(This article originally appeared in ELIXHER Magazine’s Issue No 4. Support independent Black queer media and purchase here.)
32 States Put a Ring on It: When the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, it opened the door for plaintiffs around the country to follow suit and file for the right to marry. Since that judgment, marriage restrictions have fallen like dominoes. It is only a matter of time until we can marry, divorce, and pursue our happiness in all 50 states.
CeCe’s Free at Last: After serving two-thirds of a 41-month sentence in a male prison, CeCe McDonald was freed in January. After her release, CeCe made appearances thanking people for working on her release, while recognizing that she is one of too many trans youth wrongfully thrust into the criminal justice system by a society that doesn’t recognize their humanity.
ESPN’s Big Fumble: Michael Sam made headlines over the summer as the first openly gay player to be drafted to the NFL. On draft day, he kissed his boyfriend when the call came in and ESPN nearly had a meltdown, spending an entire segment discussing the fact that “children were watching” and whether Sam would make his fellow players uncomfortable in the locker room. Really?!?
The President of Awful: Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed the most egregious anti-gay bill to date in 2014. Same-sex “acts” were already illegal, but this legislation would make some punishable by life imprisonment. While the bill has since been repealed on a technicality and not on its content, Museveni is now doing a proverbial two-step, realizing that his anti-gay rhetoric is actually bad for the Ugandan economy.
Playing GI Joe: After the shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown, the town of Ferguson had questions. Why would police leave the body of a slain child in the street for three hours? Why wasn’t the officer who killed him arrested? When they received no answers they took to the streets in protest and were met by a highly militarized police force, including tanks and tear gas.
GOP Foot-In-Mouth Syndrome: When the Supreme Court decided not to hear appeals on same-sex marriage restrictions from five lower courts, allowing marriage equality in those states, RNC chair Reince Priebus took to the airwaves. He aligned his thoughts with David Lane and Tony Perkins, leaders of right-wing orgs that have been officially labeled “hate groups.” While other Republicans have downplayed their stances on same-sex marriage, Priebus is all too happy to add fuel to a dying fire.
Rollbacks on Reproductive Care: This year, 21 anti-choice laws were put on the books. The goal hasn’t just been to thwart a woman’s right to choose but also to close down facilities dedicated to providing reproductive health care. More than half of U.S. states now have “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers” (or “TRAP”) laws—measures put in place to drain resources and force closings of already cash-strapped service providers.
Danielle and Aisha Moodie-Mills are executive producers and co-hosts of Politini, a weekly politics and pop culture show covering the personal side of politics, every Thursday at 8pm EST on Blis.Fm. Follow their musings at facebook.com/Politini, subscribe to their podcast on iTunes, and visit them at www.politini.com.