The Reach: March 16-22, 2023

2023 Democrat Scorecard Released

The Virginia Progressive Legislative Action Network (VAPLAN) released its 2023 VAPLAN Virginia Legislators Progressive Scorecard, rating our elected officials on their level of support for progressive values across a variety of issues.

Scoring a nearly perfect score overall, and at the very top of the list, was our own Delegate Marcus Simon, who has represented the City of Falls Church for nearly ten years.

Redistricting has put Simon into the same district as Kaye Kory (D-Annandale), meaning the Little City will be choosing between the two well-established Democrats in June, unless one chooses to resign.

Idaho Attempts What West Virginia Failed

Folks in Idaho are trying to annex half of Oregon, in another sign that polarization has become fairly ridiculous. Most see this as a silly attempt, but it has gained some attention, though the slippery slope we could find ourselves on if it were to succeed make it almost certain to fail.

West Virginia similarly tried to “lure” conservative Virginia counties to the state in 2020.

First Woman Speaker Portrait Unveiled in Richmond

Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax), in a tweet on Wednesday, expressed humility after unveiling, alongside her daughter, her portrait as Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.

“It was humbling to see my daughter Alana grab that piece of fabric and help me unveil the first — but certainly NOT the last — woman’s portrait on these walls.” said Filler-corn, the first female and first Jewish Speaker in Virginia’s history — who is resigning this year to pursue the Governorship.

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Takes Instagram Break

In a true “you can’t make this stuff up” moment, anti-drag, anti-trans Republican Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally is taking a break from social media after posting fire and heart emojis and cringeworthy comments on nearly-nude photos from a gay 20-year-old on Instagram.

At first, he said he “had no intention of stopping,” saying he was just being broadly encouraging of people online. McNally, who has been in office for 45 years, has since decided to make his account private. Bless his heart.

Florida is Raising an Army!?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has asked the state legislature for just under one hundred million dollars towards a 1,500 troop Florida State Guard, just over one year after receiving ten million to raise 400 troops to revive the body, which was essentially replaced by the formation of the National Guard.

Democrats in Florida have criticized it as everything from a “vigilante militia” to a “secret police,” which the Governor has said would only “serve and protect” Floridians.

Unlike the National Guard, which the President controls, the Florida State Guard would answer to the Governor. Though seen as a stunt to many, any real-life consequences would likely be squarely aimed at immigrants and people of color. DeSantis is expected to run for President, however he has not yet announced.

Some Healthy Diplomacy

After some feedback regarding last week’s coverage of Tennessee’s ban on drag queens and life-saving healthcare for trans youth, I’d like to revisit some of the misinformation being spread around conservative circles.

First (again, as it was explicitly stated last week), there is no “child mutilation” being debated. Nobody is advocating for kids to get sex changes.

There is one very important medication that has a critical impact on the quality of a trans teen’s life. These are hormone blockers, which “push pause” on puberty to defer medical procedure decisions to adulthood.

To further explain, puberty is irreversible, and has a major physiological effect on the body. A trans girl who is able to push pause won’t have to develop a deep voice or Adam’s apple; a trans boy won’t develop breasts that need to be surgically removed. These features are sources of stigma for trans folks that transition later in life.

To further belabor the point, any suggestion to force a trans person through the wrong puberty is suggesting actual lifelong physical harm.

Still, as I said last week, this isn’t about actual concerns. It isn’t about child safety. There isn’t an epidemic of trans folks stealing kids out of bathrooms, and there aren’t kids lined up for sex changes to catch a racy glimpse of their classmates.

There is no actual emergency. This is an age-old ritual of folks not letting go of other people’s business.

Also, drag queens and trans folks are not the same. Some drag queens are straight, cisgender men that are just really good at impersonation. Drag is a profession, not an identity. In addition, because most drag queens are cisgender males, their performances have far less exposed skin than most folks (because the padding will fall out — remember, it’s an illusion).

Finally, sexuality and gender identity are not the same, and should not be conflated. Trans kids know they’re trans before they know all their words. Stop sexualizing trans.