Australian DJ Sveta spins house music and activism.
Dutch report reveals the continuing conversion therapy costs, Japanese prefecture outlaws “outing,” U.S. Republican Party peddles Trump’s anti-queer record as Pride, Wheeling, West Virginia elects state’s first transgender official, U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe joins LGBTQ notables supporting Black Lives Matter, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of June 15, 2020
And Into the Streets!
Program #1,681 distributed 06/15/20
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Research by the Netherlands’ Health
Feature: An excerpt from the new tribute to ACT UP activism
Feature: Where did Sydney, Australia DJ Sveta Gilerman come from? Well, her official bio says that she and her family escaped from the Soviet Union
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending June 13, 2020 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Wenzel Jones and Tanya Kane-Parry,produced by Brian DeShazor
Conversion therapy is alive and well in the Netherlands, according to a report issued this week by the country’s Health Ministry. The practice of trying to make queer people straight through prayer and other often-bizarre methods has been widely discredited by virtually every reputable medical and mental health organization. Professionals say it’s not only worthless, but it often exacerbates any mental health problems the subject may have had.
The report was prompted by inquiries from Dutch MP’s who are considering legislation to ban the practice. Researchers found at least 15 organizations or individuals in the country who sometimes cloak the methodology as part of holiday camps, seminars, or workshops.
About 30 percent of the 239 LGBTQ respondents to an online survey for the report said that they had experienced conversion therapy, according to Reuters. More than half said it had gone on for more than a year. Nearly all who underwent the so-called “cure” said that they had suffered from psychological problems – those ranged from eating disorders and sexual issues to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Conversion therapy is being outlawed in more and more jurisdictions around the world. However at least one man who endured it told the Dutch researchers that he didn’t think a ban would stamp it out. He said, “You simply call it treatment for depression or the like.”
The Dutch Health Ministry said it would publish a follow-up report in the next few months with specific recommendations on how to address the problem.
The Japanese prefecture of Mie has made it a criminal offense to “out” someone. This week Governor Eikei Suzuki signed the measure that outlaws disclosing a person’s sexual orientation or transgender status without their permission. It’s part of a wider anti-bias law protecting LGBTQ people. Suzuki stressed the often-harmful consequences of “outing” and the necessity of anti-bias protections. He said that, “We need to do more to create a society that cares for each other.”
Outing has become a major issue in Japan in the throws of the COVID-19 pandemic. Closeted gay people who have visited queer nightspots fear being outed by epidemiologists tracking the spread of the virus. In the Tokyo suburb of Kunitachi, outing was prohibited in 2018 following the suicide of a gay student whose identity had been disclosed to his friends. Mie is the first prefecture in the country to criminalize it. On Japan’s main island of Honshu, Mie has a population of more than 1.7 million people.
Governor Suzuki has convened a panel of experts to decide how “outing” someone against their will should be punished.
U.S. President Donald Trump “has kept his promise to protect LGBTQ citizens.” That’s what a Republican National Committee issue brief says this week. You be the judge.
The missive lists things Trump has said about LGBTQ rights, but doesn’t discuss many positive actions he’s taken. It avoids any mention of Trump’s crusade against military service by transgender people, and it was released just ahead of the administration’s announcement that it was eliminating Obama-era trans health care protections. And by the way, that Pride proclamation you did not hear was Trump’s notable silence, unlike the annual June White House commemorations under his predecessor.
The Party’s 2020 platform also stands in sharp contrast to its queer cheers for Trump. It’s stuck in 2016, regurgitating all of its anti-queer policy statements from four years ago. It includes trans-phobic positions. It promotes conversion therapy. It supports overturning marriage equality.
And don’t forget the Trump administration’s “friend of the court” briefs in LGBTQ-related cases – including with the Supreme Court. They’ve supported faith-based discrimination in employment, access to healthcare, adoption and foster-parenting. They’ve also argued against the inclusion of transgender student athletes in school sports programs.
A transgender candidate has made history in West Virginia. Rosemary Ketchum becomes the U.S. state’s first elected trans official with her narrow victory this week to represent Ward 3 on the Wheeling City Council.
Ketchum has been a community activist for quite some time, including stints on the Wheeling Human Rights Commission and the Board of Directors of the ACLU of West Virginia.
Ketchum’s top issues include expanding access to affordable housing, addressing the opioid crisis, and improving infrastructure.
As she told local TV station WTOV,
[Ketchum:] “I think trans people know they are capable of doing things like this, running for office, being elected. But it’s, I think, much more important for the cisgender community, people who are not trans, to see that, oh, wait a minute … diversity is, you know, possible and important.”
Congratulations are in order for two LGBTQ activists from Down Under.
Pioneering former New Zealand mayor and world’s first transgender M.P. Georgina Beyer was among those named in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honors this week. “Delighted” and “gobsmacked” to have been recognized, Beyer said, “Here we are many years down the track for that, and the sky’s still here, nothing has fallen down. It’s all okay.”
The same Queens Honors also awarded the Order of Australia to Anthony Venn-Brown, a fierce advocate for queer-positive inclusion in faith communities.
“Deeply humbled and honored” by the Queen’s acknowledgment, Venn-Brown vowed to “continue to work towards the day when LGBTIQ people are no longer rejected or tolerated within faiths, but their contributions accepted and celebrated.”
Both Beyer and Venn-Brown were honored by the Queen for their work in advancing LGBTQ rights. Both honorees credited the work of fellow activists for their successes.
Finally, lesbian U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe is among the many queer supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement currently sweeping the U.S. – and the world.
She signed a letter that urges local governments to redirect some of their usually enormous police department budgets to better fund healthcare, education, and other social services. Other signatories include out ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, and celebrities like John Legend, Lizzo, Common and Jane Fonda.
Rapinoe joined lesbian tennis great Billie Jean King and triathlete trans advocate Chris Mosier signing on to another letter, one to the U.S. National Collegiate Athletics Association, or N-C-double-A. It calls on the organization to move its 2021 Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament out of Boise, Idaho because of the state’s effort to bar transgender girls from school sports. The letter was also endorsed by Jason Collins, the first openly gay man to play professional basketball in the U.S.
During a socially-distanced appearance on the June 12th Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS-TV, Rapinoe did her best to “rouse the rabble:”
[Rapinoe:] “Use your voice in whatever way that you can. I truly believe that we all have a responsibility to make the world better in whatever way we can do best. You know, I’m an athlete and this country very, very much glorifies its athletes and gives us this huge platform. So I’m gonna leverage the platform for what I think is good. Maybe you’re just, you know, a normal working person and you have one hour a month to knock on doors. But it’s all important. And I think that some people need to get comfortable with and understand that, like, you don’t have to quit your job and be a full time activist in the street every single day. Not everybody has the ability to do that, but everybody has the ability to do something.”
===================== BULLETIN ====================== [reported by Greg Gordon]
This just in: On Monday June 15th the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is unlawful under the Constitution. The question was whether the word “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act covered anti-homosexual and transgender bias. Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the somewhat surprising 6-to-3 majority that the answer was “clear” and “exactly what Title VII forbids.” We’ll have complete coverage of this historic ruling on the next This Way Out.
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