In last week’s update, we included an alert about a felony drag ban, SB 1028, that was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary committee. Your response was powerful, and the hearing room was packed with people taking time out of their day to share vulnerable stories and painful truths with the seven members of the committee, the press, and the public. We knew it would be a tense situation, but the behavior of the majority members was beyond hostile. Members of the public were berated, demeaned, and interrogated by legislators who insisted on drawing a false equivalency between drag and child abuse. The chair of the committee and sponsor of the bill, Senator Kern, said they had to target drag because drag shows were being used to target children, and framed it as a fight between “good and evil.”
What’s important to keep in mind is that beyond anything in the text of a bill, this is the real strategy — essentially to mention drag shows or gender affirming care or anything LGBTQ+ in the same sentence as harm to children often enough that the two things will be unavoidably linked in the public discourse. It’s like demanding someone answer “do you think child abuse is okay” — which is only slightly paraphrased from a question Senator Wadsack repeatedly asked in the hearing — it’s a loaded question blown up into an entire legislative movement. As with any loaded question, the key is not to engage on their terms. Some people see the world only in terms of harm and punishment, but if we want to build a better world, that is precisely the framework we have to reject.
We’re building a movement to show anti-LGBTQ+ reactionaries what good government can actually look like. If you want to be part of it, sign up to be a volunteer on our website! Or keep reading to learn more about what we’re doing in the three areas of our work:
Media & Events
After passing one anti-drag bill through committee, anti-LGBTQ+ legislators are putting two more up for a vote next week. On Wednesday, the Senate Government Committee will vote on SB 1026 and SB 1030, two different versions of a drag ban sponsored by Senator Kavanagh and Senator Kern, respectively. There are legal nuances that separate the two, but all of these bills have one common purpose, which is to send a direct message of support to violent protestors who have been harassing drag performers and their audiences across the country.
The very same morning the Senate Government committee hears SB 1026 and SB 1030, the House Government Committee will vote on HB 2517, a bill to ban x-gender markers. Non-binary people deserve legal recognition in Arizona. Use Request to Speak and contact your legislators directly to let them know that they won't drive us out.
To learn more about all three of these bills, visit the guide page on our website!
Civic Advocacy Jam
11:00 am - 12:30 pm February 11, 2023 | register
This Saturday, join us for our next Civic Advocacy Jam! We’ll be past the deadline for new bills to be introduced in the Arizona Legislature, so it will be a busy time for committee hearings on a lot of the bills we’re tracking, from anti-LGBTQ+ attacks to housing reform and youth rights. We’ll use our time in this meeting to prep for effective testimony and to strategize for meetings with legislators. Can’t be there in person? Join through our Discord livestream instead!
Political Power Team Meeting
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm February 9, 2023 | register
Join our Political Power volunteer team on Thursday, February 9, for our monthly meeting. Our focus this month will be upcoming citizen initiative campaigns, and we'll discuss our tools for direct action and direct democracy. Can’t be there in person? Join through our Discord livestream instead!
Media & Events
This past week we released our first bonus episode for Ask Smart People Smart Questions, featuring a panel discussion about ranked choice voting! We also published an interview for The Arizona Equals Conversation with two leaders from Support Equality AZ Schools. Make sure to listen to both!
Grounds for Connection
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Wednesdays | register
Meet up with with Equality Arizona and our volunteer teams Wednesday nights at Brick Road Coffee for our weekly social hour / games night.