The Daily Sting, Tuesday: LGBT Activists Attacked With Acid in Russia, Transgender Day of Remembrance

Among the day’s top LGBTQ headlines, an acid attack during what was supposed to be an LGBTQ family conference in Moscow has left activists in the hospital. And today is the annual Trans Day of Remembrance, when we should all pay our respects to the brothers and sisters we’ve lost in the last year.

In other news, Olly Alexander, lead singer of Years & Years, seems to have given the middle finger to Poland’s president, and we’re loving it. And a gay Christian activist has come out to say that Jesus was polyamorous, and it’s OK if you are, too.

From an acid attack in Russia to why we need a Trans Day of Remembrance, here are the day’s top queer headlines:

1. Russian Acid Attack on LGBT Activists Forces Cancellation of Queer Conference (News)

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Last year, four men attacked the guests, organizers and volunteers of an LGBT conference with an acid substance, forcing the third day of the event to be cancelled. A similar acid attack happened this month at what was supposed to be the fifth annual LGBTQIAPP+ Family Conference. The conference (scheduled for Nov. 9–11) had already been cancelled due to threats and its location being leaked. But a few volunteers stayed at the event’s venue, and that’s when an acid attack occurred. PinkNews reports that while some outlets have claimed it was pepper spray, Nadeshda Aronchik (pictured above), one of the conference’s organizers, claims it’s the same acid substance used during last year’s attack.

Aronchik says the victims of the acid attack have received treatment in the hospital and are recuperating well. She describes the Moscow police’s attitude towards the LGBT victims as “ambiguous”: “The policeman was semi-friendly — he had some homophobic and misogynistic statements but not as homophobic as I’ve experienced before, so it was kind of fine.”

This past week saw something similar in Kiev, Ukraine, where trans rights activists were attacked with pepper spray and smoke bombs by far-right protesters.

2. Trudeau Pushes Back Against U.S. Republicans’ Attempt to Strip LGBT Protections (Politics)

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The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade deal between the three nations, is currently being negotiated by leaders, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is proving to be a fighter for LGBT protections. The current trade agreement draft reportedly includes a pledge to enact “policies that protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of sex, including with regard to pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, gender identity” — which led 40 Republican lawmakers to urge Donald Trump to remove that language. But Trudeau insists the draft “represents Canadian values” and calls it a “good agreement.”

3. Years & Years Performance Makes a Bold Statement on Polish LGBT Rights (TV, Music)

Hornet recently reported on an interview given by Poland’s president in which he had harsh words about “gay propaganda” and said about a law similar to what’s in place in Russia that he would “approach it seriously.” Well Olly Alexander, lead singer of the pop outfit Years & Years and a gay man himself, is being credited with what appears to be a response of his own. He appeared on Poland’s version of The Voice and sang his hit song “King” while sporting a head-to-toe rainbow tie-dye look. And many think the wardrobe choice was in response to queer activists asking him to wear a rainbow during his TV appearance after the president’s words.

4. This Gay Christian Activist Believes Jesus Christ Was Polyamorous (Culture)

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“I’m a Christian, and I’m polyamorous. I’m also kind of a slut — the reclaimed, empowering kind of a slut, like Jesus,” says Brian G. Murphy, founder of the Queer Theology website, in a new video. He’s a gay Christian activist who occasionally gets more conservative Christians up in arms by the things he says, but he cites the Bible’s book of Ephesians as proof: “In Ephesians 5, Paul specifically uses the word ‘marriage’ to refer to Jesus’ relationship with us. … In this marriage, Jesus isn’t married to one person. He’s married to the entire body of believers. Jesus is in a pan-sexual, polyamorous relationship with us. And so of course Christians can be polyamorous. It’s a biblical model of relationships.” Many will consider it a stretch of an argument, no doubt.

5. A Reminder of Why We Need a Trans Day of Remembrance (Video)

Today marks the annual Trans Day of Remembrance, and for any who question the need for such a commemoration, Monica Helms — the woman who created the trans pride flag — put together a video that compiles the known deaths of trans people in the year 2018. It’s heartbreaking but important, and proof that now more than ever, 20 years after the first Trans Day of Remembrance, we need a day to pay tribute to those lost.

What are your thoughts on the Russian acid attack? And on Trans Day of Remembrance?