When we last met, we took a look back at some of the best, worst, funniest, scariest and generally most noteworthy episodes of the first six months of the very bizarre year that was 2022. Though it doesn’t seem possible, the second six months were even more bizarre.
Bizarre is not the right word for what happened just a few days before Thanksgiving. Yet another queer bar was shot up by a mentally deranged, hateful man. We will not mention his name here, but this man plucked another five beautiful souls from their families, friends and a community that loved them. Dozens more will carry the injuries of that night in Colorado Springs, both physically and emotionally, for the rest of their lives.
Amid this unspeakable darkness, heroes emerged. Lives were saved and a glimmer of light and hope peaked through. Thank God for those heroes. Among the lessons learned: Don’t underestimate the power of a pissed off veteran and a drag queen.
This holiday season, I feel compelled to hug my loved ones a little tighter, say thank you a little more readily, pay it forward little more frequently and not be a jerk. Please join me.
Olivia Juliana is a pro-choice lesbian activist whose activism caught U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s attention. “But why is it is that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb,” Gaetz snarked at a conservative rally. Juliana responded by raising more than $1 million for the Gen-Z Pro-Choice Abortion Fund. “It goes to show no matter how young you are, no matter what position of power you’re in, you can make a difference,” she said.
Anti-LGBTQ demonstrators protesting a Sunday drag brunch at Anderson Distillery and Grill in Roanoke, Texas were met by armed counter protesters carrying rifles. Journalist Steven Monacelli tweeted: “Anti-trans activists are protesting a drag brunch in Roanoke, Texas, but are outnumbered by supporters of the event.” Similar confrontations erupted nationwide, including at Houston’s Hamburger Mary’s.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill protecting transgender youth and their families fleeing prosecution from states that criminalize gender-affirming care. “In California we believe in equality and acceptance,” Newsom said in a signing statement. “We believe that no one should be prosecuted or persecuted for getting the care they need — including gender-affirming care. Parents know what’s best for their kids, and they should be able to make decisions around the health of their children without fear. We must take a stand for parental choice.”
Brett Perry, after and his husband John Michael Schert love to display rainbow and progress flags at their house in Boise, Idaho. In 2020, the first of three Pride flags the couple has hung on their porch was stolen. A second was defaced. On October 5, the third was set on fire. Perry’s reply: “Well, f*ck ’em, we’ll hang another one, right?”
They’re just cartoons, for crying out loud. Nonetheless, according to a message on a petition being circulated by the anti-LGBTQ One Million Moms (OMM) against the beloved British children’s show Peppa Pig after it aired an episode featuring a young polar bear child with two polar bear moms. “Beware! Peppa Pig is now boldly glorifying gay marriage,” the petition oinks. In the episode, a character named Penny introduces her two moms. “I live with my mummy and my other mummy. One mummy is a doctor and one mummy cooks spaghetti,” Penny says. Queer cartoon enthusiasts speculate that the Peppa Pig backlash may be a response to another classic cartoon character, Velma Dinkley, coming out as lesbian in the new animated movie, Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated.
Since MONTROSE STAR went to press before any notable December 2022 stories could be mentioned here, here’s one worth repeating from December 2021:
On December 11, Cameron Bess became the first out pansexual person to be shot into outer space. A passenger on Elon Musk’s NS-19 flights. Also on board was Cameron’s father, Lane Bess, a venture capitalist and tech executive. In addition to his new career as an astronaut, Cameron is also a furry and a Twitch star.
“Many people have told me it means a lot to see a pansexual Pride flag in space,” Cameron said. “I’m just happy to provide visibility.”