The White House Takes A Major Step To Ensure Transgender Students’ Rights

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

But there’s still a long way to go

Today, the White House issued a directive to protect trans students in public schools across the country. According to The Atlantic, the Obama administration sent a letter signed by Justice and Education department officials to school districts with detailed instructions on how to prevent students from being discriminated against and, among other things, order them to allow transgender students to use restrooms that match their gender identity. Refusal to do so, the letter reportedly claims, is a civil rights violation. 

The letter also elucidates Title IX, which forbids sex-based discrimination from government-funded institutions, and reminds schools that gender identity discrimination is forbidden in housing, athletics, locker rooms, and at school events like graduation. It is the most informative document that schools have been given about transgender people. It includes instructions about pronoun usage and how to support students who are transitioning and prevent bullying. The initiative does not hold the same weight as a law, but it does threaten to bring lawsuits and less of federal aid to districts that do not abide by its specifications. 

This comes after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against North Carolina for its HB2 bill, which is a clear violation of transgender rights and equality. One of the most talked about aspects of the bill is how it requires transgender people to use bathrooms that don't correspond to their gender identity. 

While this is a huge, necessary step for the rights of transgender individuals, it's simply not enough to protect them from discrimination and life-threatening situations.

"Obama is sending a very clear message about trans lives and our humanity, however I think this is happening in such a hyper-visible way that I worry about the response by many citizens in the United States," Basil Soper, a trans activist and writer who has worked to protect other trans students at North Carolina's Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College after being threatened against by a male peer in a restroom, tells us. "While I am incredibly grateful and excited for Obama's directive and overall message, and I believe it's a good first step, it's not going to be beneficial if a student is outed in class and then put into the same restroom with people who are transphobic."

In order to foster a safe, nurturing environment, Soper suggests, more education and procedures need to be put in place. "There needs to be direction around using a student's proper pronouns, name, and gender on all course materials and in class with teachers. This way, they are streamlined into a school's microcosm. If nobody 'others' that student in any way and everyone uses the right language and name, then it will help keep the student from being vulnerable to others' judgment, hate, and well-intentioned but still very invasive questions. If a trans student is to succeed in school, then they need to be protected in such a way that nothing interferes with their learning."

Hopefully, the Obama administration will put more mechanisms in place soon. With rates of transgender homicide at an all-time high, it's imperative. 

Screenshot via YouTube

The band shared details about their new St. Vincent-produced album that will drop "you into the world of catastrophe"

Sleater-Kinney just shared more information about their St. Vincent-produced album and dropped a new single.

Per Billboard, Sleater-Kinney revealed that their new album, which they've been teasing since early this year and will be their first since No Cities To Love from 2015, will be called The Center Won't Hold. It's due out on August 16 via Mom + Pop Records. "We're always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person—ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness—in the middle of the chaos," Carrie Brownstein said in a statement. Corin Tucker further noted that the new album will "[drop] you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election."

Janet Weiss noted that the band will "explore a different sound palette" with this album, and pointed to St. Vincent as the reason behind it. She said that St. Vincent "has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us."

To satiate us until then, the band released a lyric video for new single, "The Future Is Here," which is very grungy. Bump it, below.

Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here (Official Lyric Video)


This is so satisfying!

Even Jon Snow knows just how unsatisfying the final season of Game of Thrones was, and he's ready to apologize. Well, a deepfake of him is at least. A heavily-edited version of Snow's speech from the fourth episode—just before the bodies of those lost in the Battle of Winterfell get burned—now features Snow apologizing for the conclusion of the show and lighting the script on fire.

"It's time for some apologies. I'm sorry we wasted your time," Snow begins. "And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I'm sorry we wrote this in like six days or something," he adds, before signaling to his peers to light the script with torches and "just forget it forever." "Fuck Season 8," he says before the pages begin to crackle and burn.

If there were more lines left to alter, we would have loved to see Snow also tackle how messy Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's story line ended up, as well as Bran's kingship, Cersei's boring demise, and the water bottle appearance.

Watch the entire deepfake and try to heal the wounds left by HBO below.


Photo by Darren Craig

It premieres today, exclusively via NYLON

In LP's song "Shaken," the most recent single from her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, she tells the story of seeing her lover out with someone else—ouch. Today, exclusively on NYLON, she releases a cheeky animated music video that pokes fun at the song's heightened drama and perfectly demonstrates all the angst that comes with falling hard for someone.

"She looks at you like I used to/ And I'm just sitting in the corner sh-sh-shaken," LP sings, as the visual—with art by Maayan Priva—depicts the singer hanging out in a bar, watching the girl she likes meet up with another girl. Despite the situation's inherent drama, "Shaken" is less of a ballad and more of an upbeat bop. LP told us she loves the way "this little video captures some of the fun of the song, and its inherent comical anxiety." Sure, heartbreak isn't that funny, but our (sometimes) overly dramatic reaction to it kind of is.

"'Shaken' feels like a bit of a wild card on this record," LP says. "It's the closest I've come to writing a musical, which I hope to do one day." We heartily endorse this idea: Please, LP, give us the queer jukebox musical we crave.

Until that day comes, though, you can watch the music video for "Shaken," below.

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Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

This cameo has the Beyhive buzzing

I went to see Men In Black: International alone. Which would have been fine if it wasn't for the shock I received when I saw two specific characters on the screen. Unable to keep it to myself, I shared a curious look with the stranger next to me, who was obviously thinking the same thing as me. "Is that them...?" I whispered first. "I think… so," she replied. Then the two men in question started to dance, and we were both sure: "Yep, that's them."

It was Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, better known as Les Twins. Fans of Beyoncé will recognize the duo as the talented brothers who often accompany her on tour and in music videos. In Men In Black: International, the two of them play shapeshifting entities—they're more like energy forces than aliens—who pursue Tessa Thompson's and Chris Hemsworth's characters throughout the duration of the film. The twins' ability to manipulate their bodies in ways that are graceful and otherworldly really helps sell them as extraterrestrials and is fun to watch.

So if Thompson in a suit or Hemsworth shirtless weren't enough motivation, here's another reason to go see it. If you look close, you can see them in the trailer below.


Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

"I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter"

In a heart-warming Instagram photo, Serena Williams shares the history of hair braiding and the importance of the tradition. The tennis player shared a photo of herself braiding her daughter Olympia Ohanian's hair and spoke about how "honored" she was to be able to "add another generation" to the tradition of the practice.

The photo shows Williams attentively braiding her daughter's hair while Olympia smiles, obviously loving the experience. Williams noted that hair braiding was created by the Himba people in Namibia, Africa, and that "we have been braiding our hair for centuries." "In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe," she continued.

Williams pointed out that braiding is a bonding experience. "People would often take the time to socialize," she wrote. "It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world."

Williams closed her post with a sweet message about her daughter, saying that she's "honored to share this bonding experience" with her.

See the post, below.