Tag: latest

Iris Santos and Natalia Smüt become latest trans people killed in US

Headshots of Iris Santos and Natalia Smüt

Iris Santos (L) and Natalia Smüt. (Houston Police Department/Instagram)

Two trans women were slain on the same day in the US, raising the spectre of a spree of violence that shows no signs of stopping this year.

Iris Santos, a Latinx trans woman, and Natalia Smüt, a “firecracker” of a drag performer who dazzled audiences with her lip-syncing prowess, were separated by some 2,000 miles.

But on 23 April, both their lives were tragically cut short.

Santos, 22, was sitting at a picnic table in Houston, Texas, when an individual beelined towards her, opened fire, killed her and walked away, local enforcement said.

Smüt, 24, was murdered by a man she was reportedly dating at her home in Milpitas, California.

While records may vary between monitoring groups, mired by misgendering and deadnaming among police and press reports, there have now been at least 18 trans or gender nonconforming people violently killed this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

This tally would make Smüt and Santos the 17th and 18th people killed respectively – an unnerving statistic that has shuddered fear among the American trans community.

In four months, the community has mourned: Tyianna Alexandra, Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, Bianca Bankz, Dominique Jackson, Fifty Bandz, Alexus Braxton, Chyna Carrillo, Jeffrey ‘JJ’ Bright, Jasmine Cannady, Jenna Franks, Diamond ‘Kyree’ Sanders, Rayanna Pardo, Dominique Lucious, Jaida Peterson, Remy Fennell and Tiara Banks.

What happened to Iris Santos?

In a flyer shared by Houston Police Department officials, the force is urging “the public’s assistance identifying the person of interest in the murder of Iris Santos”.

At around 9:45pm outside of a Chick-Fil-A on 8609 Westheimer Road, by a bustling intersection crammed with supermarkets, eateries and banks, Santos was fatally shot.

Investigators said that the fast-food restaurant’s manager heard gunshots and dialled 911. Officers arrived at the scene to find Santos suffering from her wounds.

Santos’ loved ones are “requesting the community’s help with identifying the suspect”, the flyer added.

The department’s Office of Community Affairs, helmed by LGBT+ liaison Josephine Jones, released local surveillance footage Saturday (1 May) of the suspect walking up to where Santos was sitting.

A second clip, caught by a vehicle’s dashcam, shows the suspect fleeing the scene by running into an apartment complex less than 10 minutes after the shooting.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Houston Police’s Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or the Crime Stoppers tipline at 713-222-TIPS.

What happened to Natalia Smüt?

Natalia Smüt, a Black Puerto Rican and beloved drag performer, was stabbed to death in her home in the northern Californian city by Elijah Cruz Segura, 22, of nearby Union City, according to the East Bay Times.

Segura, the Milpitas Police Department said, dialled the authorities himself at 2:29am from the 1000 block of Hillview Court. A bloodied Segura led cops to the victim.

She later died at a local hospital.

Segura was arraigned Tuesday (27 April) and faces charges of murder with a weapon enhancement for his alleged use of a knife in the killing.

Smüt’s death quickly touched off a wave of grief, anger and fear among the LGBT+ community, with more than 100 people attending a vigil for her at San Jose City Hall.

To many, Smüt was remembered for her “motivating and creative spirit”, “captivating performances” and her “love for advocacy within the community”, according to a blog post from LGBT+ advocacy group Project More.

“My sister was amazing,” Smüt’s sister, Vanessa Singh, told the newspaper.

“She was the strongest, most beautiful, and courageous person I know, and now we all have to live without that light in the world.

“I want to see that justice served and that Elijah spends the rest of his life in jail.

“But there will never be enough justice for me because my sister is gone.”

The finest UPS package, Chris Crocker’s latest discovery, & the most impressive golf swing / Queerty

The finest UPS package, Chris Crocker’s latest discovery, & the

When Netflix can’t offer you anything new or interesting, turn to TikTok, where there’s always something fun and fresh to see. Here are a few top picks from the week to start your binge:

Tom Broders went viral for his swing.

@bubbiegolfSwing is feelin good ##golf ##fyp ##foryou

♬ talking to the moon x play date xxtristanxo – xxtristanxo

A niece got her uncle on Grindr.

@_vikter_Guidelines repost##ItsOurHome ##gay ##lgbt ##lgbtq ##fypシ ##fyp ##foryoupage ##single ##grindr ##grindrproblems ##gayboy ##mobilegame ##comedy @arianaaifloress

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod

HB 1882 did its job in Arkansas.

@comrade_ivan0Original video @abs.hart ##hb1882 ##alphabetmafia🌈 ##transrightsarehumanrights ##transally ##lgbtq ##gaybear

♬ Oblivion – Grimes

Michael and Tyler got weak in the knees.

@mikeandtysI get so weak in the knees I can hardly speak… 🤫❣️ #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #weakintheknees #fypchallenge #boyfriendchallenge #gaysarewinning

♬ I get so week letsgohira – Hira Brown680

Lisa B and Pope answered questions.

@lkbphotography_Reply to @lily.creates.tiktoks we thrives in the 90’s #LKBFAM #LisaAndPope #Age

♬ Originalton – Hi my name is Nsx

Chris Olsen and Ian Paget jumped on the bandwagon.

@chris#stitch with @alexandrayaeger WE ACTUALLY DID IT KIND OF!!! Would u say this was a success?? @ianpaget_ #couple #couplechallenge #wedidit

♬ original sound – Chris Olsen

Dominique Jackson got the shoes baby (aka the hottest new tagline of 2021).

@barbeykingdomGet the shoes baby get the shoes 💅🏽✨ #dominquejackson #purr #shoecam #fyp

♬ original sound – barbeykingdom

Charlie Puth gave his d*ck a theme song.

@charlieputh##stitch with @4k.shad Sorry

♬ original sound – Charlie Puth

Chris Crocker found his “Leave Britney Alone” box.

@chriscrockerofficialI went through my old bedroom closet at my grandparents house and… !!!!

♬ original sound – ChrisCrocker

Randy with UPS delivered a package.

@ryanmbeggs#duet with @randywithups

♬ original sound – Randy Lee Daugherty

And Jacques Paul caught his men in the act.

@jacqupot🌈✨ #gay #gaydating #ladygaga #grindr #bestofgrindr #scruff #gaycouple #gays

♬ Alejandro – Lady Gaga

Lesléa Newman Writes of Her Aging Father in Her Latest Book of Poems

Lesléa Newman Writes of Her Aging Father in Her Latest

Lesléa Newman may be best known to readers here as the author of Heather Has Two Mommies and other children’s books. She is also, however, an award-winning poet, and her latest volume of poetry for adults is a wise and loving look at her father in the last years of his life.

I Wish My Father - Lesléa Newman

I Wish My Father (Headmistress Press; Amazon/Bookshop) is a companion book to her 2015 I Carry My Mother (Amazon/Bookshop), about her mother’s battle with and death from cancer, though each can be read alone. (My review of the earlier volume is here.) I Wish My Father picks up after her mother’s death as Newman and her father face that loss as well as his own aging. It ends with his own death from a stroke. In its narrative poems, we see Newman’s own struggles as his caregiver, always loving but occasionally exasperated. Through vignettes and deft dialogue about supermarket trips, doctor’s appointments, looking through old photo albums, and more, she gives us an image of the man, stubborn and proud, as they navigate the last years of his life together. The particulars of their lives, however, also speak to the universals of change and loss and time, and everyday moments carry double meaning. One poem, “My father is slipping,” begins:

My father is slipping
his glasses up his nose
eager to see the stars
on TV

It goes on to show how other parts of him, too, are slipping away, making the title/first line re-resonate. Another poem shows him reflecting that he and his wife had always planned that he would die first. He then sits in the doctor’s office “to wait and wonder/when on earth he’ll be called,” and we understand that it is not just a medical appointment that he is wondering about.

Newman understands that aging is not a simple or linear process. Her father remains able to do complex arithmetic in his head even as he starts to see visions of people from his earlier life and ones who have never existed. Newman finally convinces him to move into a nursing home, and writes:

My father is moving out
of the house he shared with my mother
for more than 50 years and every damn
day I find a brand new way to break
his broken heart.

These are not easy or comfortable poems, especially for those of us who are caring for or have lost our own parents, but they are powerful in capturing what so many of us go through. They may offer the solace of showing us that we are not alone in our feelings of loss, frustration, grief, reminiscence, and love. Newman dedicates the volume to her father, adding the traditional Jewish wisdom about one who has died, “May his memory be for a blessing.” In sharing her memories of him, Newman is also sharing some of that blessing.

(As an Amazon Associate and as a Bookshop Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Release date and how to watch the latest series

Dominique Jackson in American Gods

Dominique Jackson appears in season three as Ms. World, an incarnation of Mr. World. (YouTube/American Gods)

The highly anticipated third season of fantasy drama American Gods had its world premiere this month.

After a two year break the show is back on our screens via Starz in the US, where it premiered 10 January, and with a worldwide release on Amazon Prime Video the following day.

Pose star Dominique Jackson joins the cast as Ms World, a new incarnation of the leader of the new gods, Mr World.

The series is based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name and follows former convict Shadow Moon, who is told his wife has been killed in a car accident only days before his scheduled release from prison.

A series of events delays his trip home, including a meeting with the mysterious Mr Wednesday, who offers Shadow a job to be his driver, assistant and bodyguard.

Shadow then finds himself in a hidden world where magic is real and the Old Gods fear irrelevance in the face of the growing power of the New Gods, which leaves him struggling to accept this new world and his place in it.

The latest season and third overall follows Shadow as he moves to Lakeside, Wisconsin under a new name to hide from the New Gods and assert himself as his own man. But while there he uncovers a dark secret exploring questions of his own divinity.

Ricky Whittle in American Gods
Ricky Whittle appears as the lead character Shadow in American Gods. (YouTube/American Gods)

American Gods stars Ricky Whittle as Shadow, perhaps best known for his role as Calvin Valentine in soap Hollyoaks, Ian McShane from John Wick and Pirates of the Caribbean as Mr Wednesday and Emily Browning from Sucker Punch and A Series of Unfortunate Events as Laura.

Across the three seasons there is also notable guest stars including Pose star and icon Dominique Jackson, Kristin Chenoweth, Marilyn Manson, Denis O’Hare, Betty Gilpin, Gillian Anderson and Crispin Glover to name a few.

Since its release in 2017 the show has received positive reviews from critics and has racked up a number of big award nominations including two Emmys. It’s also proved to be a ratings success, with a fourth season already in development.

A new episode will be released weekly on Starz in the US and Amazon Prime Video in the UK and worldwide. You can stream the series with an Amazon Prime membership which costs £7.99 per month and comes with a free seven-day trial.

To sign up and to stream American Gods seasons one to three go to Amazon here.

Erasure taps Amanda LePore, Manila Luzon, Raja and other legends to star in latest video / Dragaholic on Queerty

Erasure taps Amanda LePore, Manila Luzon, Raja and other legends

Amanda LePore, Manila Luzon and Raja in the new video from Erasure
L-R: Amanda LePore, Manila Luzon and Raja (Images: YouTube)

British electronic duo Erasure is gearing up to drop their 18th (yes, 18th!) studio album, The Neon, next week. As a taster, they’ve just released a new track and a video featuring some well-known trans and drag superstars.

“Nerves of Steel” is a classic Erasure song, with a thumping 80s-sounding synth background and Bell’s soaring vocals.


The band isn’t featured in the video at all. Instead, it showcases a smorgasbord of drag and trans performers, including Amanda LePore, Raja (RPDR S3), Manila Luzon (RPDR S3), and Morgan McMichaels (RPDR S2).

“This is my favorite track from the album,” Erasure singer Andy Bell said in a statement. “I am truly honored that all our LGBTQIA+ friends were so creative during lockdown and helped us with this joyful video. Thanks for creating such a lovely piece of art!”

One of those included is Nina West (Drag Race S11), who posted her clip to Instagram, saying:

I never thought in a million years that I would ever be in a Erasure video. This is unreal. For all those times i belted out “A Little Respect” on stage or in my shower, or imagined I was a fairy, floating and singing “Oh L’amour”, and even driving to high school in the mornings and jamming out with @meg._it_is_my_name to “Always” – this is a pretty incredible moment. Thank you Andy and Vince.

Related: Travis Scott omits trans icon Amanda Lepore from his album cover

Raja was similarly blown away to be asked, saying on Instagram: “Fourteen-year-old me would never believe I’d be asked to be part of an amazing ensemble of people, in a music video, for #ERASURE !!”

Another, Detox, said, “Erasure has been an integral part of my queer soundtrack from early on and it was a tremendous honor to be included in their new work!”

The full line-up of star-studded cameo appearances runs as follows: 6; Amanda Lepore; Aurora Sexton; Candis Cayne; Cara Melle; Cheddar Gorgeous; CT Hedden; Delta Work; Detox; Honey Davenport; Joey Jay; Kiki Xtravaganza; Manila Luzon; Mayhem Miller; Mercedes Tyler; Morgan McMichaels; Nina West; Pandemonia; Pearl; Raja; Sherry Vine; and Widow Von ‘Du.

The Neon is out August 21.

Related: Manila Luzon schools fragile straight bro at very gay party in ‘Gay Man’