Breaking down the walls with Peter De Waal, the pioneering Dutch-born activist whose life is a chronicle of the LGBTQ+ movement in Australia!
British lesbian Christian rocker Vicky Beeching’s coming out bible debate with U.S. evangelical homophobe Scott Lively five years on!
Queer content creators take YouTube bias to court, the EuroCourt considers its own “gay cake case,” Trump wants to free religious employers to practice bigotry, an adoption process probe forces gay Russian dads and their kids to flee, queer Chinese couples bond through a legal loophole, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of August 19, 2019
De Waal’s Saga & Beeching’s Bible!
Program #1,638 distributed 08/19/19
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): A group of prominent U.S. queer YouTube
Feature: Five years ago this week, British Christian rocker Vicky Beeching
Feature: The story of Peter De Waal’s life is practically synonymous with the
[You can watch the full-length interview at thiswayout.org!]
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending August 17, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Wenzel Jones and Michael LeBeau,produced by Brian DeShazor
A group of popular queer YouTube video creators are suing the online platform and its parent company, Google. The bias lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court in San Jose, California this week charges that YouTube suppresses their LGBTQ-specific content. That hurts their ability to accumulate subscribers and sell advertising.
Bria Kam and Chrissy Chambers are the stars of YouTube’s BriaAndChrissy channel, which the Washington Post says has about 850,000 subscribers. The lawsuit specifically points to a music video on their channel called Face Your Fears.
[about :15 excerpt from the song dropped in here, fades out under:]
It shows the couple kissing in front of anti-queer protestors, with the lyric “No more hate, no more shame.” YouTube slapped a “restricted mode” on it for reasons that are unclear to the lesbian couple. That blocks viewers from seeing the video at many schools or libraries, for example. The singing lesbian duo claim in the lawsuit that YouTube’s restrictions on access to their content has caused their monthly income to plummet from close to $3,500 to only $500. Other plaintiffs say that they’ve experienced comparable losses. They include trans activist Chase Ross, non-binary queer youth-supportive educator Lindsay Amer, and the hosts of two GlitterBombTV.com channel shows.
Peter Obstler is the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in what they are asking to be a class action lawsuit. Obstler told the Post that, “By controlling an estimated 95 percent of the public video communications that occur in the world, Google and YouTube wield unparalleled power and unfettered discretion to apply viewpoint-based content policies in a way that permits them to pick winners and losers.”
YouTube officials deny the charges and insist that their algorithms don’t discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
The queer YouTubers suit is being handled by the law firm Browne George Ross, the same firm that has a lawsuit pending on behalf of nonprofit Prager University. It alleges that YouTube has removed or restricted its videos because of their politically conservative content.
The European Court of Human Rights now has its very own “gay cake case.” Gareth Lee’s attorneys filed a challenge to a U.K. Supreme Court decision that Ashers Bakery in Belfast had not discriminated against him by refusing to make a cake with the message “Support Gay Marriage.” Lee’s 2014 cake order had asked that the images of “ambiguously hetero” Sesame Street Muppets Bert and Ernie illustrate the message.
The bakery’s evangelical Christian general manager Daniel McArthur claimed the right to refuse to make the cake based on his religious beliefs. McArthur told The Telegraph newspaper that, “This is what God would want us to do.”
A lower court sided with Lee. Then the British high court decided last year that the baker had not violated anti-queer bias laws by refusing the cake request because of Lee’s sexual orientation.
Lee’s challenge in the EuroCourt this week argues that making the cake for a private individual does not suggest that the bakery supports the particular message on it. The lawsuit asserts that, “there is no such thing as a ‘Christian business’” that requires special legal protections. It contends that, “Businesses are separate from their owners and their personal and private views.”
Lee told The Guardian newspaper that, “I’d fight for the rights of business owners to … hold their own religious beliefs … But that’s not what my case has ever been about.”
It’s not known when the EuroCourt will hear it’s “cake case.”
Another slice of bias cake was served by the Trump administration this week in its continuing assault on queer rights advances made during the presidency of Barack Obama. Referencing last year’s U.S. Supreme Court Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling, Trump’s Department of Labor wants to roll back anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination protections established by Obama’s 2014 Executive Order. The Cakeshop ruling narrowly upheld a devout Colorado Christian baker’s right to refuse to make a wedding cake for a queer couple. The rule change announced on August 12th would allow “religion-exercising organizations” with federal contracts to defend themselves against charges of anti-queer hiring practices when the bias is “consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government.”
A statement from the ACLU called the rule change “taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion. Period.” That condemnation was echoed by a number of other human rights and queer advocacy groups including the National Women’s Law Center, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National LGBTQ Task Force.
The proposed rule change is open for public comment until September 16th.
In related news, the gay Log Cabin Republicans announced this week that it supports Donald Trump’s re-election.
Trailblazing U.S. trans student activist Gavin Grimm may have finally won the last round. Grimm has been fighting for four long years against the Gloucester, Virginia School Board policy that required students to use campus bathrooms that match their “biological sex.”
U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled on August 9th that, “There is no question that the board’s policy discriminates against transgender students on the basis of their gender non-conformity.” Allen concluded that, “The perpetuation of harm to a child stemming from unconstitutional conduct cannot be allowed to stand.”
Grimm graduated from Gloucester High in 2017 and now lives in California. He said he was “relieved” by the victory but vowed to continue the fight if the school board files an appeal.
Grimm’s case was on track to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. It was derailed when President Donald Trump rescinded an Obama-era directive that trans students be allowed to choose bathrooms and other gender-segregated facilities consistent with their identity.
The high court will hear 3 other cases this October to decide whether provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banning discrimination based on gender and several other immutable characteristics also extend to sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
A gay Russian couple and their 2 adopted sons have been forced to flee their homeland. Andrei Vaganov signed the papers as a single adoptive father in 2010. His partner Yevgeny Yerofeyev has no legal relationship to them. Russia does not recognize their 2016 legal marriage in Denmark, but they’ve been jointly raising Denis and Yuri since Vaganov adopted them.
Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a probe last month into the Moscow social services workers who granted the adoptions. It’s not clear why the investigation was launched now – nine years later. Vladimir Putin signed the Russian version of a so-called “no promo homo” law in 2013. It outlaws dissemination of “gay propaganda” to minors. Vaganov told the German news outlet Deutsche Welle that he feared the government would take their kids away. He refused to disclose the family’s whereabouts “because of the idea that my children could end up in an orphanage.” He said, “… I was told directly that I would, in any case, be arrested for seducing minors.”
Vaganov described to Deutsche Welle how their otherwise normal family life imploded when young Yuri had to be rushed to the hospital for what turned out to be appendicitis. Yuri told hospital officials he had 2 dads when they asked if his mother would be picking him up. They then examined Yuri to determine whether he had been sexually abused. The couple’s lawyer has advised them to leave the country for their own safety.
Finally in better queer family news, same-gender couples in China are finding ways to legally protect each other and their relationships. Although consensual adult same-gender sex was legalized in China in 1997, LGBTQ people have virtually no rights there. There is no right to legally wed. However any adult can name another adult as legal guardian. That became possible in 2017, when the law was expanded to include more than people either above the age of 60 or with reduced mental abilities. The Chinese-language news site Sohu.com did a feature story on same-gender couples using the legal guardian option. It allows them to make medical decisions for each other, and to establish inheritance and certain other familial rights.
However, it’s not a simple process. Legal guardianship must be formalized by notaries, and many notaries refuse to serve same-gender couples. Li Chenyang is assistant director of a public notary office in Shanghai. He told Sohu.com that he’s seen “one or two same-gender couples almost every month.” He pointed out that after they come out, many LGBTQ people are estranged from the biological families who would otherwise make such decisions involving medical care and inheritance issues. Li says some of the couples he’s seen are treating their mutual guardianship notarization as a marriage certificate – although it has no value as such under Chinese law.
A lesbian couple was the first to successfully get a notarized guardianship agreement in 2018. At the time, it required a six-hour meeting to overcome concerns that it would “harm the public order and good customs.”
The South China Morning Post reported on the first mutual guardianship agreement in Beijing this week by an unnamed queer couple that has been together for 10 years. The story noted that more than a dozen other lesbian and gay couples had thus far filed similar notarized guardianship protections for each other in Guangzhou and Chengdu, in addition to Shanghai.
© 2019 Overnight Productions (Inc.)