Comic book publishing giant DC Comics has captured the interest of fans with a new pledge: the publishing label will release an all-queer version of the Justice League later this year, should fans show enough interest.
DC, the label behind the iconic heroes Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, made the announcement as part of a new reader engagement campaign designed to help the publishing house steer its output.
Dubbed the “DC Round Robin,” readers will vote on a number of potential titles they want from the company with the winner hitting newsstands later this year.
One of those potential titles: Justice League Queer. A brief plot synopsis describes the story as “Eight young queer heroes investigate a series of monstrous manifestations around the world and discover that something much more terrifying is coming.”
Color us interested.
Related: DC Comics announces Pride anthology to celebrate its LGBTQ characters
While online interest has already begun to swell around the possibility of a new, queer superhero team, Justice League Queer still has some stiff competition. The potential book is one of 16 possible titles under consideration by DC.
Others include Green Lanterns: Underworld On Fire, a team-up between popular Green Lantern characters Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner; Suicide Squad Seven, in which Harley Quinn will lead a band of super-criminals against an evil cult; Paws Off the Justice League, which would follow the adventures of “super pets,” the animal companions of Superman, Batman, et. al. and Robins, a story in which all the former Robins (and in the comics, there are a few) meet up to tell stories about their adventures.
The first round of voting has already begun, with Justice League Queer squaring off against Robins in a tournament-style match-up. At the time of this writing, Robins has a significant lead, with 53.8% of the vote. Five days remain in the campaign, however, so that may yet change.
The possibility of Justice League Queer follows DC’s increasing commitment to diversify its comic book titles and their subsequent spinoffs.
DC made history with the debut of Batwoman in 2019, the first superhero series to feature a lesbian lead character. The forthcoming Green Lantern Corps. series will also feature Alan Scott, an openly gay version of the Green Lantern. Last month, the publisher also announced a special Pride anthology featuring stories about its LGBTQ characters.
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and Cartoon Network have launched a cheery new comic starring Cartoon Network characters that highlights the power and importance of respecting gender identity through the use of pronouns.
The comic, part of NBJC and Cartoon Network’s ongoing collaboration, was designed by members of the NBJC Youth and Young Adult Action Council (YYAAC) with artist Steven Lowe (@steeeeevn), a team of talented creators from Cartoon Network Studios, and leadership from NBJC’s director of education programs and research, Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond.
“At the heart of our work at NBJC is affirmation of the dignity and beauty of our Black transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary and other gender-expansive siblings,” said Darling-Hammond. “This comic strip advances our goals by showing what it looks like to treat people with respect, while finding a sense of common humanity. Our hope is that this strip’s audience, of all ages and backgrounds, will feel inspired to begin volunteering their own gender pronouns, respect those of others, and normalize awareness of the existence of people across the gender universe. We believe that recognizing and celebrating gender expansiveness will move us closer to a world where we can all be healthy, happy, and whole.”
NBJC’s YYAAC member Tyler Miles adds that “Part of the excitement of this project is that we are engaging a topic that young people almost always have experience with, but don’t often have the space to discuss. Whether these youth identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, cis, or the multitude of identities therein, this comic is a radical act of trust and care to reach all youth who are beginning to, or have already, thought critically about gender. They are heard, they are seen, they are accepted, and they are loved.”
Labour MP for Nottingham East Nadia Whittome. (Ollie Millington/Getty Images)
It’s 4pm on a Monday and Nadia Whittome is trying to unobtrusively wolf down a spicy panini.
She hasn’t had lunch yet and is apologising profusely – both for eating over Zoom and for trying to talk while gently choking on her food. “I’m brown but I’ve got such a white palette, anything spicier than pepper is a bit much,” Nadia explains.
The Labour MP is quick to crack jokes – “Trans rights? What about my right to misgender people?” – but slows down as we approach the interview proper, clearly serious about her position as one of the most vocal proponents of transgender civil rights in the House of Commons.
It’s not a stance that’s gone unnoticed. Nadia has also fiercely condemned Tory equalities chief Liz Truss over changes to the Gender Recognition Act and openly called for any aspiring trans or non-binary politicians to get in touch with her for support.
Partly as a result of this unequivocal support, Nadia – who’s now been Britain’s youngest MP for almost a year – has been jointly awarded PinkNews Politician of the Year. It’s an honour that last year was won by Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt and Labour’s Jess Phillips.
But it’s not just trans rights that Nadia has been fighting for in parliament. The Nottingham East MP sat down with PinkNews to talk about how LGBT+ issues are central to her socialism, why the climate crisis is a queer issue, navigating a pandemic during her first year as a politician, and trans liberation.
Nadia Whittome: LGBT+ rights are ‘central to my socialism’
Explaining that she finds being labelled the “baby of the house” infantilising, Nadia Whittome says that as someone on the cusp of the Gen Z and millennial generations, she sees herself as representing a demographic whose lives have been defined by insecurity.
“It’s the greatest privilege of my life to represent the constituents of Nottingham East. It’s also a great privilege to represent our generation: those of us whose lives have been defined by insecurity, whether it’s the insecure job market, having to pay for education, insecure housing,” Nadia Whittome says.
“But at the same time we’re a generation that is brave, we’re collaborative, we’re open, we’re celebrating of difference. And we’re not going to get back in our box.”
“LGBTQ equality and the rights of LGBTQ communities aren’t some sort of sideshow in my socialism,” she adds. “They’re not expendable. They’re central to my socialism.
“It’s a matter of health care, education, workers rights. And it’s just a huge honour to to be made PinkNews’ Politician of the Year – especially in my first year as a member of parliament.”
Asked when LGBT+ rights became an important issue to her, the queer MP says they’ve always been important, almost innately, as it’s “always been part of my lived experience”.
And she swiftly adds that it “shouldn’t be radical” to believe that “everybody, no matter your gender, sexuality, race, class, background, disability, religion, etc, should have equal rights and equal opportunities and demanding liberation for all of those marginalised groups”.
‘Hosting climate youth strikers in parliament was my proudest moment’
It’s been a wild first year in politics, and it was a huge change for Nadia Whittome right from the get-go – she was only selected to fight the Nottingham East seat on the eve of 2019’s election being called, and in the space of one weekend her life completely changed.
Proud of her record on supporting care workers and championing minorities, she says that one of the highlights of her first year has been the platform she’s been able to give to those fighting for climate justice.
Climate change is “a queer issue, a class issue, a race issue, it’s a feminist issue”, Nadia says. “It’s the people who are most marginalised who often are going to be most impacted by climate disaster, and often, particularly in the Global South, have also done the least to bring it about.”
As a result, one of Nadia’s proudest moments from her first year as an MP was bringing youth climate strikers into parliament.
“We just got working together on a bill that would green the education sector,” she recalls, “and to put climate education on the national curriculum. I also lead a debate on climate justice.
“That was a real highlight.”
Transgender liberation ‘is for transgender people to decide’.
Nadia Whittome is clearly awkward receiving praise for her vocal and unflinching allyship to trans and non-binary communities. “I’m just doing my job!” she says. “For me, it’s clear that standing in solidarity with trans people is my duty both as an MP and a human being.”
It’s “sad” and “shameful” that trans lives have become a political debate, she continues, saying that “even for me, as a cisgender person, the exhaustion I feel [about the debate] is nothing compared to the trauma and exhaustion that trans and non-binary people must feel”.
“One day, we’re going to look back on this time, and feel shame that this was ever a matter for debate,” Nadia says firmly.
“Just as we look back on the so-called debate about gay men not being allowed in the Army or not being able to adopt children, or women being innately inferior to men, or disabled people not being worthy of earning the same wages as non disabled people.
“We’ll look back at trans rights in the same way. And I just wish that we could fast forward to the time where trans people have equal rights and are liberated.”
The MP is also clear that it is for trans people to indicate when liberation is achieved. “It’s not for me, as a cis woman, to tell trans communities when they are liberated!” she exclaims.
But she adds: “It’s a structural, systemic, baked-in inequality and oppression. So the solution is not just about tinkering around the edges. Liberation is when all the structural barriers are removed: it’s about the right to health care, it’s about education.
“It’s about the fact that trans people are far more likely to be victims of domestic and sexual violence, rather than perpetrators.
“I’m a socialist. Trans rights and workers rights are an integral part of the class struggle.”
Finally, Nadia points – as people are wont to do – to the example of her mum, a woman in her fifties who was raised in a convent, didn’t get sex education in school, and has a lot of “cultural baggage” as a result.
“If my mum can be a trans ally and try to understand what it means to be non-binary, then anyone can.”
Swapping notes with the SNP’s Mhairi Black: ‘We disagree on Scottish independence, but we’re both socialists’
In a Guardian interview in January, Nadia Whittome said that she and Mhairi Black, the Scottish National Party MP, had swapped numbers. Did they ever go for that drink?
“So, we haven’t been for a proper drink yet,” Nadia says. “But we’ve hung out. We’ve had conversations on the terrace between votes.”
There’s solidarity between the two women because of their age and their queerness, but also, as Nadia points out, because they’re both progressive.
“Even though we’re in different parties, and we’ve got different views on the issue of Scottish independence, we’d both say that we’re socialist. We’re both feminists.”
Ending on this note, Nadia adds a final point: “And there is absolutely no conflict between being a feminist and being a trans ally. There is no conflict between the rights of trans people and the rights of cis women.
“In the fight against patriarchal violence, we should be natural allies.”
A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!
Yesterday, a grand jury indicted only one of the three police officers involved in the shooting death last March of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman in Kentucky—and the charge was “wanton endangerment,” not the more serious ones of manslaughter or reckless homicide. I hope that other White people like myself make it a priority to learn more about this case and about the ongoing need for racial justice in the U.S. Here are a few places to start.
Melanye Price at the New York Times writes in a piece worth reading in full:
Police officers who kill citizens are rarely convicted. But in this tragic situation, in which the woman killed was not only unarmed but asleep in the moments before a police officer took her life, we hoped that for once, justice would be on our side. This is yet another disappointing reminder that it’s not.
These efforts take a cumulative toll. Young African-Americans consuming a regular diet of Black death are learning to not trust their government. It’s painful to realize that kneeling for the national anthem can cost a football player like Colin Kaepernick his career, but a police officer firing a deadly shot into an innocent young woman’s home late at night will face no consequences.
Longtime civil rights activist Rev. Dr. William Barber II spoke with CNN to explain why “every American, of every race, creed, or color should be really, really concerned” that the grand jury decided “to not even have a trial” on a murder charge. And in the wake of two Louisville police officers being shot during protests on Wednesday night, he tweeted:
Violence & shooting cops is not the way. I denounce it, and I pray for the officers and their families. I pastor officers of the law in my church. I cannot be against the police or officers completely, and I cannot support violence.
Furthermore, it’s what Trump wants. When racists killed Emmett Till, Rosa Parks decided to take down Jim Crow. When Jimmie Lee Jackson was killed, Amelia Boynton and others took down voter suppression. We need to change the system and the people running the system!
Yet while we should denounce all killings, as he says, we should also try to understand the outrage felt by Black people in our country. Regardless of the specifics of this case, it’s wise to remember that the grand jury’s decision here came 65 years to the day after an all-White jury acquitted the murderers of Emmett Till, a Black teen. We should all know Emmett’s story and understand just how long White people in America have been killing Black people with impunity—since 1619, in fact. And White people took indigenous lives long before that. Even though you and I did not personally do such things, we nevertheless benefit from the system of privilege that has enabled such horrors.
That’s not a reason for guilt; it’s a reason for action. We should all learn how to talk about race in ways that can help us to become more anti-racist and help dismantle the systems that keep racism in place. We should continue reading, listening, and educating ourselves and our children about race and the many perspectives of Black people and other people of color, of which the links above are only a very, very small sample. We should continue to Fight for Breonna and work towards racial justice in the communities of which we are part. Those aren’t easy tasks, but they are necessary ones, both for our country and for our humanity.
This season’s tarotscopes feature the Tarot of the Divine and the Compendium of Constellations.
After a season of introspection and awareness, after sitting with our secrets and digging into the wants and needs and fears that shape us, we now move from Virgo’s mutable earth into Libra’s cardinal air. The shift from the Hermit’s intentional, focused reflection to Justice’s powerful, expansive movement is a major one, urging us to switch from internal processing to external collaboration. And whether you spent time in recovery or pushed yourself to higher levels of truth-seeking, this new season offers a chance for us to put our fresh discoveries about ourselves into practice, to see how our theories play out in the real world. Welcome to Libra season.
Ushering in autumn here in the northern hemisphere, Libra is most often associated with art and beauty, collaboration and harmony. Eager for different perspectives, this is a time of listening and learning, of expanding the mind, of exploring new ideas and viewpoints. After the Hermit’s slow and deliberate movement, with Virgo’s eagerness to wrap up projects ensuring that every detail is perfectly finished, Libra is ready to start something fresh, to stretch and search, to be open to dazzling new possibilities. As light and brilliant as this energy can seem, Libra also has a deep capacity for awareness, carrying the thoughtful intentionality of the Hermit forward into a sharp perceptiveness that allows for tranquility and equilibrium. There’s a real sense of grace here, the ability to quickly shift and adapt, honoring different approaches and inviting everyone to participate in decisions.
Our card for this new season is Justice, an archetype of equality and balance, ethics and integrity, truth and fairness. And while this is always an intense card to work with, in 2020 it holds so many additional layers of meaning. After months of revolution and riots, calls for equality and reparations, demands for police reform and abolition, it may feel that justice as a concept is still so far from reach. And yet in the tarot, this archetype asks to consider how our personal ideals and morals play out in the real world. What do we truly believe in, and why? What has shaped our values, influenced our understanding of what is truly right? What seems correct in theory, but never quite plays out the way we think it should? It doesn’t seem like it should be complicated to understand justice as a concept, yet particularly in the United States, so few things are truly equitable. Libra wants every voice to be heard, every need to be met, for the most vulnerable and marginalized to be lifted up and protected. And as we shift into this new season, Justice demands that we carefully consider beliefs, that we pay attention to the systems that impact us, that we push back against the limits that are harming us. How are you standing up for your community, for those whose voices are so often silenced? Where are you fighting back against injustice? What can you offer?
Many of our cards for this season urge contemplation and focus, asking us not to get distracted by the many demands on our energy, resources, and ideas. From choosing our path forward with care to staying grounded with regard to our long term goals, Libra is a season of balanced work and purposeful decision making, offering opportunities for deliberate growth and careful consideration of our options. This kind of collaborative energy is not pushing you to make space for everyone’s ideas at the expense of your own voice or needs — but it is asking you to consider what you may be missing, where your own perspective is too narrow or limited. How can you stay open to new ideas? Where can you innovate? In this season of Libra, remember the lessons of Justice, and choose your battles carefully. You have an opportunity for rich growth, both internal and external, but it’s essential that you know what it is you’re fighting for. Experienced tarot readers or astrologers can plug the cards I’ve drawn for their sun, moon, and rising signs into the spread below to create a custom reading for this season. Venus is the ruler of Libra, bringing beauty and a spirit of love to this season, so if you know your Venus placement you can also include that card reading in your spread for a more complete picture.
As always with these tarot readings, take what you need and leave what you don’t. Have a safe and beautiful Libra season!
After the quiet reflection and purposeful stillness of Virgo season, you now have an opportunity to press on, to pursue your goals in earnest, to make a detailed and structured plan for your future. The Emperor is your birth card, Aries, so you may find yourself feeling extra motivated to carry that organized Virgo energy forward and create comprehensive milestones for your ongoing work and your broader goals. Your natural independence and desire to be constantly moving forward can both be powerful assets, but don’t forget Libra’s balanced energy of awareness and insight, of collaboration, of paying attention to multiple perspectives. There may be a tendency for you to insist on doing things alone, on choosing a path forward and sticking to it no matter the cost, but there can be real value in listening to the ideas and opinions of those you trust and respect. How can you learn from those around you? Where can you take charge, and where might it be useful to delegate?
Three of coins
It may feel like things are starting to come together in an important way this season, as new collaborators join your work and fresh ideas help you gain traction. The old adage that many hands make light work will be an important one to remember, as you tend to be someone that prefers to do things yourself, in your own way — keep in mind that allowing others to weigh in, and being willing to delegate tasks that don’t come as naturally to you, may help you keep your eyes on the prize and remember what you’re working towards. After the dramatic shifts and powerful realizations that you moved through last season, embrace Libra’s diplomatic and innovative energy and be open to new opportunities. You are building something important, but as you well know, sometimes the biggest projects take consistent effort and long-term planning to execute properly. Be patient with yourself, and don’t rush this process — with care, attention, and a solid team behind you, you’re well on your way to success.
Seven of coins
As you continue to make progress towards your long-term goals, you may find yourself settling into a comfortable rhythm, balancing your creative sparks with a more grounded and patient approach to movement. This will be a good season for you to pay attention to the direction that you’re moving in, to see if the vision that you began with still feels like something you want to achieve. How have you shifted and grown throughout this process? Where might you need to adjust, evolve, or even shift your progress towards a new goal? Last season’s restless energy may feel more focused and intentional now that we’ve entered airy, harmonious Libra season, so give yourself some space to breathe and explore, to see if you’re moving towards something that you still want. With reflection and conscious attention, you may find that what once seemed so important no longer is holding your interest in quite the same way. Don’t abandon old projects just because you’re eager for the rush of a new beginning, but do be thoughtful about changes you can make to your process that help you find fresh energy and innovative insights. Where are you going?
Page of swords
This season may bring a new opportunity, truth, or insight, something that encourages you to explore and expand in an intellectual, intentional way. You may find that a new style of learning or a new perspective on an old subject helps you understand the ideas that are coming forward for you, allowing you fit together existing pieces in unexpectedly brilliant ways. How has your perspective been shifting? What new viewpoints are changing the way you think about the world around you? If things felt stagnant last season, if it seemed like you were trapped in your own mind and unable to find your way forward, this time of Libra may feel particularly exciting, with new possibilities around every corner and brilliant ideas buzzing through your mind. Temper all of this quick, powerful air with your own natural water, balancing that sensitive intuition with the new insights that are capturing your attention. What are you learning about your own curiosities and impulses? Where are you ready to learn more?
Four of swords
If Virgo season felt like a time when your heart was open and vulnerable, when you were called to connect and collaborate, this next chapter is one of rest, recovery, and new awareness. You may be known for your courage and boldness, for your love of independence and adventure, but Libra season offers a chance for you to slow down and give your mind time to catch up to your heart. As new truths and insights become clear, we sometimes need to take a breath, to give ourselves space to process and adjust to the world we are discovering. And you may find as Libra season continues, you discover new strength within yourself, a new sense of purpose for what you want to achieve and pursue. How much time do you spend in reflection? What came forward for you during the time of the Hermit, and what new questions are now emerging? Listen to your mind and body and take rest when you need to — it may be that you have to schedule it in, so that you don’t just collapse when the day is over. Make a point of giving yourself a break, and see how it allows your mind to sharpen. Who are you when you stop moving?
It may feel that you’re caught between worlds this season, as you transition out of your comfortable season of precision and into a time of partnerships, evolution, and examining multiple perspectives. This archetype often calls us to analyze our histories, to consider what rituals we have developed, to pay attention to the routines we’ve established and what they say about the things we believe. And with Libra’s airy energy pushing us to honor what resonates on a personal and ethical level, this will be a season of attention and awareness, a chance for you to consider how the things you feel and know manifest in your daily life. How do you make decisions? Where do you invest your resources, energy, passions? What rituals mean something to you, and where are you simply going through the motions? If you find yourself constantly falling back on the way that things have always been done, give yourself a break and let the brilliant innovation of Libra shift your perspective. How can you create patterns and rituals that resonate on a deeper level?
Two of cups
Happy birthday, Libra! As you step into your season, you may find yourself balancing your intellectual needs with a craving for more intense personal connections, wanting to be seen on a more personal and sensitive level. Whether you’re deepening friendships, falling for someone new, or putting more effort into business partnerships, this will be a time of community and vulnerability, when you are asked to share your heart with someone in a more intimate way. Sometimes these connections are made quickly or in unexpected places, so stay open to possibility, and pay attention to the ways that you respond to those around you. Last season reminded you of how independent and powerful you can be, of all that you’ve achieved and accomplished in your life — so allow your season to be one of chosen family and important relationships, a time when you invest in the people you care about. What kinds of people are you drawn to? What do they reveal within you? And how can you be more intentional about the community that you are building?
Four of wands
After a period of difficult choices and careful reflection, for you this season will be about forward movement, celebration, and stepping into your own power. It may feel like your creative work is really taking off, as things click into a new gear and you’re able to create strong foundations for your future vision. Enjoy this feeling of momentum and joy, and remember what it is you’re working towards. What new kinds of magic are revealing themselves? You’re someone that tends to keep so much private, preferring not to show your hand too soon, but don’t get so obsessive about keeping your work secret that you miss out on opportunities to collaborate and gain valuable feedback on the things that you’re building. Sometimes getting an outside perspective can bring a fresh burst of energy and inspiration, so trust your instincts and bring someone in if it feels right. What might you gain from letting yourself expand? How can you create solid structures that inspire you to grow, rather than restricting your movement?
Eight of coins
It might be tempting to spend all of your time with intellectual pursuits this season, enjoying the spirit of exploration and collaboration that air seasons so often bring. But rather than expanding outward and starting new projects, Libra is a time for you to stay focused on your larger, more established goals, to work to improve your craft, to continue investing in the ambitions that you’ve been chasing. What have you been building? What are you working towards? How can you gain knowledge, skills, additional resources? After last season’s rush of inspiration and magic, work to slow down and move with intention, to create something that will last and reflects the person that you are. You are skilled in so many brilliant and powerful ways, yet when you put your head down and really do the work, you may be shocked at just how far you can go, at just how much you can accomplish. Where have you been spinning your wheels? What fresh insights from last season can you apply to your current work?
Two of swords
You may find yourself at an important crossroads this season, choosing between different paths. Sometimes you’re picking between two things that you want to pursue, and will have to figure out where you most want to put your energy, insights, and assets — but other times neither option will feel particularly exciting, and you simply have to make up your mind so that you can begin to make progress. Whichever situation you find yourself in, stick to the facts, and work to keep your perspective clear and honest rather than getting caught up in too many hypotheticals or anxieties. Which path feels the most logical, the most true? What is stimulating your mind? Which sword is giving you a more profound sense of purpose? After last season’s explorations, it’s time for you to double down and decide what it is you want to grow, where you want to expand and innovate. Where can you charge forward, and what are you willing to leave behind?
Nine of swords
Ideas and worries may feel a bit tangled for you as you move into Libra season, particularly if you’re someone that rarely relies on the opinions of others to help you find clarity and insight. You’re known for your independence, your forward-thinking; yet when you begin to doubt yourself it can cause you to twist reality into unrecognizable shapes, losing sight of what is real and reacting to challenges before you have all of the necessary information. In the wake of the major shifts that you were working through last season, it may feel like you’re trapped with no way forward, unable to rebuild after a profound loss or transition. But you have more options than you realize, so embrace the balanced insights and collaborative energy of Libra, and allow those that you trust to help you get your mind back on track. There’s no shame in asking for help, so resist the impulse to go it alone and instead give yourself a chance to adjust your perspective, to find a more authentic viewpoint. Where can you seek truth? How are you getting stuck? What old mental patterns are you falling into, and how can you end that cycle for good?
Six of cups
After a season of exciting shifts and powerful movement, your Libra season may feel dreamy and introspective, a chance to reflect on your personal history, roots, and connections. There can be something so lovely about remembering simpler times, about exploring the paths that you’ve taken to get where you are, the events and relationships that have helped you reach this particular point. But take care not to romanticize the past too intensely, to overlook any challenges or struggles that shaped you. You may find opportunities for pleasure, comfort, and generosity this season, reconnecting with old friends or finding safe places to rest and relax — yet sometimes when we dig deeply into our own histories, we also reveal old wounds. Be gentle with yourself and honor your intuition, particularly if thinking about your past brings up vulnerabilities or painful memories. What can you learn from the places that you’ve been? Which experiences have been formative, and what are you still understanding about all of the previous versions of yourself?