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South Dakota Bill Aims To Ban Schools From Teaching About Gender Identity

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“I think we need to be focusing on reading, writing and arithmetic,” said the Republican sponsoring the bill

According to Teen Vogue, seven states currently have laws which prevent the teaching of materials that contain positive portrayals of LGBTQ individuals in health classes. These "no-promo homo" laws have been staunchly opposed by LGBTQ activists, who argue the regulation does a disservice to queer students. Now, a South Dakota bill drafted by Republican Senator Phil Jensen would ban teachers from instructing elementary and middle-school students in the state about gender identity and expression.

“I think we need to be focusing on reading, writing and arithmetic,” Jensen said of the bill, voicing concerns about the age-appropriateness of discussions on gender and sexuality, according to The Associated Press.

This would be the first bill in the country that would block instruction on gender identity. No other states are in the process of implementing similar bans.

“We think that it’s bad broadly for LGBTQ students in South Dakota," said Nathan Smith, public policy director at GLSEN, a national LGBTQ advocacy group.

"This bill seeks to silence and erase transgender young people by banning discussion of gender identity, a basic component of our makeup as humans," echoed Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth, adding: 

But, transgender children and teens exist and we should be cherishing them, not denying their existence. Transgender children and teens, like all young people, have the right to lead healthy lives, including being taught information that can help them protect themselves from HIV, STIs, and unintended pregnancy. Young people won't stand for policies that cause harm and pain to transgender children and youth.

Unsurprisingly, students in states that regulate lessons on LGBTQ issues face more violence and less support from teachers and administrations, according to a GLSEN research brief.

Education Department spokeswoman Mary Stadick Smith said that the she is unaware of any schools in the state that currently teach lessons on gender identity.

Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard, who has previously opposed legislation that would regulate the bathroom usage of transgender students, has stated his opposition to the new proposed policy, claiming that he doesn’t “know that our standards of education are properly the subject of legislative enactments.”

Meanwhile, states like California, Massachusetts and Washington have implemented optional lesson plans on gender and sexuality in their education programs.

Photo courtesy of Balenciaga / Photo via @McDonaldsSverige Instagram

I'm cackling

Last year, Balenciaga released bright red square-toed mules which bore a striking resemblance to McDonald's french fry cartons. Now, the chain has fired back at the designer, threatening to release its own version of the shoes.

McDonald's Sweden posted a photo to its Instagram of a person wearing actual McDonald's fry cartons as shoes, and honestly, if there weren't yellow M's printed onto them, I'd have a hard time distinguishing them from the Balenciagas from a distance. Though the post doesn't directly reference the Balenciaga shoes, one can only assume that's who they are trolling.

McDonald's version actually makes for some pretty fly slip-ons, if you ask me. Good thing the Swedish branch of Mickey D's seems to be considering releasing the shoes if the post receives enough attention. The caption of the Instagram post translates to, "If we get 103042 likes we release these for real," though it only has about 17,000 as of publish time. These would likely cost much less than the Balenciaga shoes, which cost $545.

Internet, do your thing. I want a pair.

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Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.

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