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Asia O’Hara says she was ‘threatened to be burned alive’ by online trolls

The ‘Drag Race’ star explains her social media absence

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Asia O'Hara, gay news, Washington Blade

Asia O’Hara (Photo courtesy Project Publicity)

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant Asia O’Hara revealed she received death threats on social media because of her race in a heartfelt Twitter post.

O’Hara, who is a finalist on season 10, posted an emotional note on Twitter explaining her absence from the social media platform.

She revealed that at 11 years old a group of neighborhood kids attempted to set her on fire for being gay.

“Since that night, I have grown to what I thought was a strong, resilient person,” O’Hara writes. “I left that night and those faces behind me, never telling a soul.”

While she says the horrific incident made her a “strong, resilient person” she encountered an online troll who threatened to burn her alive but this time for her race. It brought her back to the same fearful place she was in as a child.

“This time not because of my flamboyance or vibrance, but because of the color of my skin,” she continued. “That strong and resilient person I had become was instantly reduced back to that 11 year old boy.”

“It is through sharing this story, I’m hoping to regain my strength and joy,” she writes. “I’m on my way back to the person I know I can and should be.”

Other “Drag Race” queens offered words of support including her fellow season 10 contestants Aquaria and The Vixen.

“You are one of the fiercest and strongest people I know. I love u so much and will fight anyone that fucks with you,” Aquaria tweeted.

“So, you know i’m not gone rest until you tell me names, Twitter handles, Addresses, Church affiliations and social security numbers of anyone dumb enough to come for my sister! Love You! (i heard they got blow torches on amazon) We gone Stay Ready,” The Vixen tweeted.

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Photos

PHOTOS: Tennessee all-ages drag brunch

New Beginnings in Johnson City raises $3,500 to combat gun violence in schools

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A member of the Little City Sisters, a newly-formed chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, holds a sign during the all-ages drag brunch at New Beginnings in Johnson City, Tenn. on Sunday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

New Beginnings in Johnson City, Tenn. held an all-ages drag brunch on Sunday, March 26 — just days before the state’s anti-drag law was scheduled to take effect. The event was a fundraiser for the Johnson City school system to help prevent gun violence. Organizers announced that $3,500 was raised.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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PHOTOS: Miss Charm City

Stormi Skye crowned the winner

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Stormi Skye is crowned Miss Charm City 2023 at the Baltimore Eagle on Friday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Miss Charm City pageant was held at the Baltimore Eagle on Friday, March 24. Stormi Skye was crowned the winner. Both Skye and first alternate Sorority Heights qualified to compete in the upcoming Miss Gay Maryland competition later this year.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Sports

Trans women banned from track and field, intersex athletes restricted

World Athletics Council policy to go into effect March 31

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CeCé Telfer (Photo courtesy of Instagram)

The organization that makes the rules for track and field meets around the world declared Thursday it will bar transgender women who have experienced male puberty from competing, a move that was anticipated following a similar trans ban issued last year by the governing body for world swimming.

As the Associated Press noted, at this moment there are zero trans women competing at the elite level of track and field. But the edict, which the World Athletics Council announced will take effect on the Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, is crushing news for one hopeful. 
In May 2019, CeCé Telfer won the 400m hurdles at the Division II championships and became the first out trans woman to win an NCAA title. She’s been training ever since for her shot at the Olympics, despite being ruled ineligible for Beijing at the trials in 2021. The Jamaican-American had set a goal of qualifying for Paris in 2024. But the World Athletics ban ends that dream.

Telfer tweeted Thursday, “It feels as though the world stopped moving.”

Another ruling by the group will likely mean no shot at the Olympics for another Black woman athlete, two-time gold medalist Caster Semenya. The South African track icon is not trans, but because of her higher than typical testosterone levels, she has been barred from competing in her signature event, the 800m. World Athletics took that from her around the same time Telfer made history, in May 2019. 

The group issued an eligibility ruling that prohibits female athletes like Semenya who have Differences in Sexual Development from competing in women’s events, from the 400m to one mile (1600m), unless they reduce their testosterone levels. So, Semenya chose to run in longer events than she did previously. She finished 13th in her qualifying heat at 5,000 meters at world championships last year as she worked to adapt to longer distances, in preparation for Paris. 

“I’m in the adaptation phase, and my body is starting to fit with it. I’m just enjoying myself at the moment, and things will fall into place at the right time,” the South African runner told the AP.

That time may now never come. On Thursday, World Athletics announced athletes who have DSD will have to undergo hormone-suppressing treatment and maintain a testosterone level of below 2.5nmol/L for 24 months, in order to be eligible to compete in any event in the female category.

Semenya vowed following the 2019 ruling that she would never again take any testosterone suppressing medication, terming the rules discriminatory and unfair.

This new rule could impact not only Semenya but also as many as a dozen other elite runners, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said. Among them, Olympic 200-meter silver medalist Christine Mboma of Namibia, who won a silver medal in Tokyo two years ago but didn’t compete last year because of an injury. Mboma has not publicly stated whether she would be willing to undergo hormone therapy.

Like Semenya, Olympic 800-meter silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi has said she will not undergo hormone suppression. 

Even though Niyonsaba, Mboma and Semenya are not trans like Telfer and former Connecticut high school track athletes Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller — who have been targeted in federal court by opponents of inclusion — there is one thing all these women have in common: They are all women of color, and all targeted for being too fast because of their natural gifts.

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