5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: Russia's Pussy Riot Law, Fired Lesbian Teachers, Right-Wing Attacks on a Trans Kid, and Good Old American Misogyny

Welcome to SheWired's weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of news from the past seven days. Each Monday, we'll be providing a retrospective on the most heinous, crazy-making bits of anti-LGBT news that came across our radar last week. Our hope in doing this isn't only to darken the skies, but also to sound the alarm about the kind of idiocy that passes for "legitimate commentary" these days. Expect a healthy dose of snark in the following paragraphs — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day.
By: Sunnivie Brydum
October 21 2013 6:35 PM

Welcome to SheWired's weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of news from the past seven days. Each Monday, we'll be providing a retrospective on the most heinous, crazy-making bits of anti-LGBT news that came across our radar last week. Our hope in doing this isn't only to darken the skies, but also to sound the alarm about the kind of idiocy that passes for "legitimate commentary" these days. Expect a healthy dose of snark in the following paragraphs — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day. 

5. Texas Republicans Are Scared of Wendy Davis — So They're Making It Harder for Married Women (and folks of color, or those of low-income, or transgender identities) To Vote

Remember Wendy Davis? The Texas Democrat who single-handedly led an 11-hour filibuster in the state senate to stall a repressive anti-abortion bill that shuttered most of the state's abortion clinics? Well, she's running for governor of Texas. 

And that has the rich white guys who currently occupy the Governor's mansion running scared — though we doubt their running shoes are as fabulous as Davis' hot-pink sneakers

Still, Texas continues to expand its assault on voting rights, pushing through a new voter ID law that requires any voter to provide current state-issued photo ID that reflects their current name, gender, and address. Now, it's well-established that these kinds of arbitrary voter restrictions have the effect of keeping otherwise eligible voters, who might lack the resources to have an updated photo ID, home on election day. 

Who might those people be? According to ThinkProgress, it definitely includes low-income folks who don't drive or have the need for or time off to acquire a state-issued ID. It will also impact students whose licenses often reflect their home address, not the temporary address they maintain on-campus that does, in fact, make them eligible to vote in that district. It will also certainly deter transgender people who haven't had the opportunity or resources to update their state-issued ID to reflect their authentic name and gender. And just to finish off gutting the voting base of most progressive candidates, strict voter ID laws like the one about to take effect in Texas also disproportionately impact people of color.

And, as Jean Anne Esselink points out at The New Civil Rights Movement, it's also likely to impact one of Davis' key constituencies: married women of childbearing age. Because the new law requires a voter provide original proof — no photocopies allowed — of a court order or legal document reflecting a name change, any married women who have taken their spouses' name but haven't taken the time to wait in line at the DMV to amend their license will now have to prove that they're not fraudulently trying to vote. According to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice, only 66% of women of voting age have access to the kind of ID that's required to vote in Texas as of November 5. 

Because, as we all know, voter fraud happens ALL. THE. TIME. If one redefines "all the time" to mean hardly ever. In 2012, a nationwide study of 2,068 cases of reported voter fraud uncovered just 10 instances of actual fraud. As the Washington Post notes, that amounts to about one case of fraud for every 15 million voters

But by all means, Texas, go ahead and make it even harder for law-abiding citizens to vote. Perhaps no one will notice now that the Supreme Court decimated the Voting Rights Act. 

4. Amid Rabid Homophobia, Russia Passed a Law to Protect Religious Believers' Feelings From Being Hurt

I so wish I were kidding with this headline. But as a new op-ed at our sibling site, The Advocate, reports, Russia's violent crackdown on LGBT people is only one side of the bigoted coin. 

Russian youth advocate and Moscow council deputy Vera Kichanova illuminates the background behind what will likely be known as Russia's "Pussy Riot Law," which essentially forbids anyone from doing or saying anything that might offend someone with stringent, orthodox (and Christian, of course) religious beliefs. Named after the all-female punk-protest band that saw two of its members convicted to hard labor camps after they performed a 30-second protest against President Vladimir Putin's repressive policies inside a Moscow Cathedral, the law prescribes prison terms of up to three years for "public actions expressing open disrespect for society and committed in an effort to offense the religious feelings of believers." 

"It’s likely not a coincidence that President Vladimir Putin signed into law an antigay bill punishing people for homosexual 'propaganda' on the exact same day the Pussy Riot Law passed," notes the Russian author. "Now we can see how these two laws work together."

To recap, right now in Russia, it is illegal — and punishable by jail time — to wave a rainbow flag, kiss your same-sex partner, say you believe gay people are worthy of basic human dignity in front of a minor, say anything that might offend a religiously devout person…. and just for kicks, if you're a single person living in a country that embraces marriage equality, don't bother trying to adopt one of Russia's estimated 600,000 orphans. They don't need your dirty, queer-loving support. Obviously, avowed homosexuals are banned from adopting, as well. 

This all sounds like the ideal atmosphere in which to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, don't you think? That paragon of sportsmanship and exhibition of human excellence will be on full display in the Russian city of Sochi in February — where President Putin has also banned any form of gathering, demonstration, or rally of any kind throughout the entire city for the full duration of the Games. 

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