June 15, 2021

Your Pride read, watch, and listen list

Consider this your Pride reading and viewing list: We’ve got recommendations for your summer downtime from The Meteor Fund’s 21 For ’21 Syllabus, featuring works that center the LGBTQ+ community’s past—and future. (If you’ve never read June Jordan, now’s the time.)

Plus, keep reading to hear from the ACLU’s Chase Strangio (one of the lawyers behind last year’s major Supreme Court victory on LGBTQ+ workplace rights) about the new wave of anti-trans legislation—and why “queer survival” should matter as much as “queer magic.” He’s the guest on this week’s UNDISTRACTED, and it’s a good one.

First, that reading and viewing list. We asked some of the most interesting people we know for works that help point the way toward a more feminist future. (Download the full Syllabus at The Meteor Fund.) Plenty of their recommendations center LGBTQ+ creators, characters, and perspectives:

FILM Lingua Franca, by Isabel Sandoval. It’s “a story about a character that is rarely seen on-screen: an undocumented, Filipina trans woman.” —Shared by Define American founder Jose Antonio Vargas 

BOOK The Selected Works of Audre Lorde, with an introduction by Roxane Gay. “When I think about feminist futures, I think about what we can carry from the past too, about the women who carved space so we might have these visions now.” —Shared by Gabriela Garcia, best-selling author of Of Women and Salt, and feminist and migrant justice organizer

PLAYLIST SOUL(SIGNS) by Brandon Kazen-Maddox (which will debut on the new streaming platform Broadstream). “SOUL(SIGNS) reimagines 10 songs by iconic Black women like Gladys Knight and Nina Simone as ASL music videos…Brandon’s work has expanded my own thinking around communication as well as how important it is to make space for accessibility, queerness, exploration, and joy.” —Shared by interdisciplinary artist Natalie Frank  

POETRY Affirmative Acts by June Jordan. “My all-time favorite poet who explores Blackness, feminism, and liberation through her beautiful poetry.” —Shared by Alicia Garza, principal, Black Futures Lab and the Black to the Future Action Fund 

SPEECHAin’t I a Woman?” by Joy Ladin. “Ladin’s writing is wise and lyrical: She writes better than anyone else I know about the way trans people search for God.” —Shared by professor, author, and The New York Times opinion writer Jennifer Finney Boylan 

Image (top): Getty Images/NurPhoto
The 21 For ’21 Syllabus is produced by The Meteor Fund, an affiliated charitable project of The Meteor.


Over 100 anti-trans bills have been introduced across 33 states this year, making 2021 the worst year in history for legislative attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. Many of these bills seek to prevent trans kids from playing on sports teams or receiving gender-affirming health care.

What’s behind this war on transgender youth? And what can we do about it? To find out, Brittany Packnett Cunningham sat down with lawyer Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project (and one of Time’s 2020 “most influential people in the world”), on this week’s episode of UNDISTRACTED.

Strangio argues that the current wave of anti-trans legislation is fueled by a right wing that realizes it’s lost the battle against same-sex marriage and is desperately searching for a new enemy. But more than that, he says, “It’s a eugenics project”—and that fact should terrify us.

“What Republican lawmakers are saying is: ‘It’s bad to be trans. It hurts people to be trans. Let’s use the power of the government to stop people from being trans,’” says Strangio. “And I think we should be responding with the urgency of a project that has a lot of genocidal impulses, because that is ultimately what’s going to happen.”

Watching transgender youth be targeted by these attacks has been particularly hard, adds Strangio. “I love being trans, and having the ability to exist as myself has been so liberating…The idea that the government or private actors with power would try to constrain people’s opportunities to realize their full magic and potential…I just can’t stand for that.”

Listen on Apple Podcasts,  SpotifyStitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.