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Right-wing media complain bisexual Superman is “indoctrination,” “deviant”

Right-wing media reacts with homophobic outrage after the new DC Comics Superman comes out as bisexual in the latest issue

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Graphic courtesy of Media Matters for America

By Jane Lee | WASHINGTON – Right-wing media attacked DC Comics and writer Tom Taylor for portraying Superman as bisexual in an upcoming issue of the current series, complaining that they were attempting to cater to the left and sway the minds of children.

On October 11, DC Comics announced that the new Superman Jon Kent, son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, has come out as bisexual and will have a male love interest in an upcoming issue. Unsurprisingly, conservative media figures expressed their outrage over the announcement while claiming not to care about a character’s sexuality. Most dismissed the announcement as DC Comics pandering to woke people, while others read a darker meaning, claiming that the decision to portray Superman as bisexual is an attempt to “erase straight white male characters.” 

Here are some examples of homophobic outrage:

Fox News

Fox media contributor Ben Domenech argued “nobody cares” that “Superman is bi.” He also said, “As many comic book industry folks have tried to take advantage of their success at the movies, these types of appeals to woke people and trying to get some new audience for actual comic books, this one is just one more attempt to trend on Twitter for a day.” [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier10/11/21]

Fox contributor Raymond Arroyo implied bisexual people are more likely to get sexually transmitted infections: “Why are they sexualizing superheroes? … We just wanted them to get the bad guys, not a venereal disease.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle10/11/21

Greg Gutfeld said that “if there was one thing important to me as a 10-year-old reading comic books, it was who the characters were sexually attracted to” and said the stories are “no longer about adventure, it’s about indoctrination.” His show then aired a sketch of Superman’s agents telling him “nobody wants a straight white male superhero anymore, OK. It’s not enough to save people, you have to appeal to LGBTQIA+.” [Fox News, GUTFELD!10/12/21

Co-host Todd Piro claimed that the bisexuality storyline is “bravery for the left, it’s not bravery for the world, and Superman used to fight all injustice.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends First10/12/21]

One America News Network

PragerU’s Will Witt said Superman “was something in America that represents America, right. So instead of creating a new superhero that is gay, … they take an existing superhero and make then that person gay. And so it’s like the left instead of trying to create something new or have a new type of idea, they want to destroy something that’s already been around the cultural lexicon for a long time.” The on-screen chyron during the segment was “Everything Woke Turns to Sh*t.” [One America News Network, Tipping Point with Kara McKinney10/13/21]

Newsmax

Host Greg Kelly said that the sexuality of the new Superman is a “great big phony waste of time. Our culture is involved in a lot of dumb things, and this is one of them.” [Newsmax, Greg Kelly Reports10/11/21]

Kelly also tweeted:

EVERYBODY KNOWS SUPERMAN IS NOT GAY. SUPERMAN IS NOT GAY. GIRLS LIKED HIM AND HE LIKED THE LADIES. HE WAS SEEING NUMEROUS WOMEN DURING THE SUPERMAN MOVIE. NOT GAY!

Host Rob Schmitt mocked the storyline, saying, “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a bisexual 17-year-old.” He added that because the Democratic agenda is “pushed always from everywhere …  next thing you know, Wonder Women is going to come out as non-binary” and be known as “Wonder Person.” [Newsmax, Rob Schmitt Tonight10/11/21]

Newsmax hosted a panel on the topic in which guest Rick Green railed at “constant indoctrination” of “children of America” by teaching them “deviant sexual behavior.” Host Shaun Kraisman suggested  that this decision could lead to authors changing the sexuality of other “iconic figures” like James Bond and Ethan Hunt. [Newsmax, The National Report10/12/21]

Co-host Sean Spicer complained that the bisexuality of Superman’s and LEGO’s inclusivity marketing is “almost like we’re creating problems and doing things, like everyone’s going to outdo the next thing.”Co-host Lyndsay Keith claimed it is “very confusing” for children. [Newsmax, Spicer & Co.10/12/21]

Host Eric Bolling preceded his segment by exclaiming, “The woke mob is at it again. What is happening in America, folks? I mean, apparently this is perfectly fine to the leftist running the place.” [Newsmax, Eric Bolling The Balance10/12/21]

Podcasts

Steven Crowder and his co-hosts made a series of extremely homophobic remarks and claimed that the LGBTQ community is overrepresented in media. The episode aired on YouTube but has since been removed. During the segment, Crowder said that Superman “has a new costume” that now “includes knee pads.” His co-host Dave Landau responded, “It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s two fellows sodomizing each other. I’ll be ​darned.” Crowder also suggested that Lois Lane would now need to “get tested.” Lane is the mother of Kent, the new Superman. [Louder with Crowder10/13/21]

While discussing Superman, Matt Walsh claimed that “even the most iconic and enduring characters are forced to undergo this kind of conversion therapy.” Walsh went on to complain that “the percentage of gay and trans characters on TV and in comics now far exceeds the percentage in the general population.” He went on to claim, “They want to erase straight white male characters, because the people doing the erasing despise straight white male people. … They don’t want all the straight white male people in society. They want to create a society filled with different sorts of people.” [The Matt Walsh Show10/13/21]

Ben Shapiro accused DC Comics of “hijacking iconic American figures and then using them for social justice purposes” and “attempting to tell you what morality looks like and to shape the minds of young teenage boys.” [The Ben Shapiro Show10/12/21]

Shapiro also tweeted:

Ben Shapiro tweeted, “Until Superman is a disabled trans man, spare me your pinkwashing, DC Comics”

Other

Far-right pizzagate troll Mike Cernovich tweeted:

Cernovich tweeted, “Today's comic book reader is a man in his 20's and 30's. Gen X freaks out over Superman being whatever, as they / we read comic books as kids. Kids aren't being influenced. My bros, kids aren't reading comics. It's incel man children. Let them read their comics in peace!”

Conservative Tik-Toker Matt Convard tweeted:

Superman ain’t gay, hate to break it to ya [Man shrugging] I don’t feel more represented by turning a straight character gay. I feel embarrassed that straight people who make these comics think that’ll make me happy. Make more *unique gay characters than anything

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Jane Lee is a researcher for Media Matters

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Additional research by  Alicia SadowkiRebecca MartinJason Campbell & Beatrice Mount

The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished by permission.

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Research/Study

New study on resilience & mental health among LGBTQ youth

LGBTQ youth with high resilience had 59% lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt- 69% lower odds of considering suicide in the past year

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

NEW YORK – The Trevor Project observing the 53rd anniversary of the riots at the Stonewall Inn that sparked a greater movement for LGBTQ+ rights and equality this week, released new data that examines resilience and mental health among LGBTQ youth.

“As we celebrate Pride Month and commemorate the Stonewall Riots, there is often discussion of the ‘resilience’ of the LGBTQ community and the ways in which members are able to bounce back in the face of adversity. These data highlight the fact that resilience is not just an admirable quality – but one that can be associated with improved mental health among LGBTQ youth,” said Dr. Jonah DeChants, Research Scientist at The Trevor Project.

“Higher resilience in our sample was consistently associated with better mental health outcomes including decreased risk for anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts in the past year among LGBTQ youth. Moving forward, we should invest further research into understanding how LGBTQ youth can successfully develop high resilience. Additionally, we should work to dismantle systems of oppression and implement LGBTQ-inclusive anti-discrimination protections  so that LGBTQ youth are not required to possess resilience to excel and thrive.” 

Key Findings:

  • LGBTQ youth with high resilience had 59% lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt, and 69% lower odds of considering suicide in the past year, compared to LGBTQ youth with low resilience. 
  • LGBTQ youth with high resilience reported 81% lower odds  of anxiety symptoms, compared to LGBTQ youth with low resilience. 
  • LGBTQ youth with  high resilience reported 79% lower odds of recent depression, compared to LGBTQ youth with low resilience. 
  • LGBTQ youth who have supportive families and  are in supportive environments have higher resilience.
  • LGBTQ youth ages 18 to 24 reported significantly higher resilience than LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 17. 

Read the report:

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Research/Study

150 people on Tennessee’s sex offender registry for HIV-related conviction

Nearly one-half of HIV registrants on the SOR were women and over three-quarters of HIV registrants were Black

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

LOS ANGELES – At least 154 people have been placed on Tennessee’s sex offender registry (SOR) for an HIV-related conviction since 1993, according to a new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

Enforcement of HIV crimes in Tennessee disproportionately affects women and Black people. Nearly one-half of HIV registrants on the SOR were women and over three-quarters of HIV registrants were Black.

Tennessee’s two primary HIV criminalization laws—aggravated prostitution and criminal exposure—make it a felony for people living with HIV to engage in sex work or other activities, such as intimate contact, blood donation, or needle exchange, without disclosing their status. Both are considered a “violent sexual offense” and require a person convicted to register as a sex offender for life.

Examining Tennessee’s sex offender registry, researchers found that Shelby County, home to Memphis, accounts for most of the state’s HIV convictions. Shelby County makes up only 13% of Tennessee’s population and 37% of the population of people living with HIV in the state, but 64% of HIV registrants on the SOR. Moreover, while Black Tennesseans were only 17% of the state’s population and 56% of people living with HIV in the state, 75% of all HIV registrants were Black.

In Shelby County, 91% of aggravated prostitution convictions resulted from police sting operations in which no physical contact ever occurred. In addition, the case files showed that 75% of those convicted were Black women. When it came to criminal exposure case files, all of those convicted except one person were Black men.

“Tennessee’s HIV criminal laws were enacted at a time when little was known about HIV and before modern medical advances were available to treat and prevent HIV,” said lead author Nathan Cisneros, HIV Criminalization Analyst at the Williams Institute. “Tennessee’s outdated laws do not require actual transmission or the intent to transmit HIV. Moreover, the laws ignore whether the person living with HIV is in treatment and virally suppressed and therefore cannot transmit HIV.”

KEY FINDINGS

  • Incarcerating people for HIV-related offenses has cost Tennessee at least $3.8 million.
  • Of the 154 people who have been placed on Tennessee’s SOR for an HIV-related conviction, 51% were convicted of aggravated prostitution, 46% were convicted of criminal exposure, and 3% were convicted of both.
  • Women account for 26% of people living with HIV in Tennessee and 4% of people on the SOR, but 46% of the SOR’s HIV registrants.
  • Black people account for 17% of people living in Tennessee, 56% of those living with HIV, 27% of people on the SOR, but 75% of the SOR’s HIV registrants.
  • Black women were the majority of aggravated prostitution registrants (57%), while Black men were the majority of criminal exposure registrants (64%).
  • People with an HIV-related offense are more economically vulnerable when compared to others on the state’s SOR.
    • One in five (19%) HIV registrants were homeless compared to 9% of all SOR registrants.
    • 28% of HIV registrants reported an employer address compared to about half (49%) of all SOR registrants.
  • Shelby County has one aggravated prostitution conviction for every 115 people living with HIV in the county, and Black people were 90% of all people convicted for aggravated prostitution.
    • Over 90% of aggravated prostitution convictions in Shelby County were the result of police sting operations.
    • Only 3% of aggravated prostitution convictions in Shelby County alleged any intimate contact.
    • Nearly all (95%) people arrested in Shelby County for criminal exposure were Black men, compared to 64% of people statewide.  

The Williams Institute has conducted research on HIV criminalization in numerous U.S. states.

Read the report

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Research/Study

New Pew Research Center poll: Americans at odds over Trans issues 

Strong majorities favor non-discrimination protections but weaker support for access to transition-related care among minors

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Texas trans activist Landon Richie speaking at Texas Capitol against trans youth sports bill (Los Angeles Blade file photo)

WASHINGTON – A new survey from a leading non-partisan research center reveals Americans have mixed views on transgender issues at a time when states are moving forward with measures against transgender youth, with strong majorities favoring non-discrimination protections but weaker support for access to transition-related care among minors and participation in school sports.

The Pew Research Center issued the findings on Tuesday as part of the results of its ongoing study to better understand Americans’ views about gender identity and people who are transgender or non-binary. The findings are based on a survey of 10,188 U.S. adults from data collected as part of a larger survey conducted May 16-22.

A majority of respondents by wide margins favor non-discrimination protections for transgender people. A full 64 percent back laws or policies that would protect transgender people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public spaces, while roughly 8-in-10 acknowledge transgender people face at least some discrimination in our society.

Additionally, nearly one half of Americans say it’s extremely important to use a transgender person’s new name after they undergo a transition, while an additional 22 percent say that is somewhat important. A smaller percentage, 34 percent, say using a transgender person’s pronouns is extremely important, and 21 percent say it is somewhat important.

But other findings were less supportive:

  • 60 percent say a person’s gender is determined by sex assigned at birth, reflecting an increase from 56 percent in 2021 and 54 percent in 2017, compared to 38 percent who say gender can be different from sex assigned at birth.
  • 54 percent say society has either gone too far or been about right in terms of acceptance, underscoring an ambivalence around transgender issues even among those who see at least some discrimination against transgender people.
  • About six-in-ten adults, or 58 precent, favor proposals that would require transgender athletes to compete on teams that match the sex they were assigned at birth as opposed to teams consistent with their gender identity, compared to 17 percent who oppose that and 24 percent neither favor nor oppose it.
  • 46 percent favor making it illegal for health care professionals to provide transition-related care, such as hormones or gender reassignment surgery, to someone younger than 18, compared to 31 percent who oppose it.
  • Americans are more evenly split when it comes to making it illegal for public school districts to teach about gender identity in elementary schools (which is favored by 41 percent, and opposed by 38 percent) and investigating parents for child abuse if they help someone younger than 18 obtain transition-related care (37 percent are in favor and 36 percent oppose it).

Young adults took the lead in terms of supporting change and acceptance. Half of adults ages 18 to 29 say someone can be a man or a woman even if that differs from the sex they were assigned at birth, compared to about four-in-10 of those ages 30 to 49 and about one-third of respondents 50 and older.

Predictably, stark differences could be found along party lines. Democrats by 59 precent say society hasn’t gone far enough in accepting people who are transgender, while 15 percent say it has gone too far and 24 percent say it’s been about right. For Republicans, 10 percent say society hasn’t gone far enough, while 66 percent say it’s gone too far and 22 percent say it’s been about right.

Read the full report here.

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