World famous Los Angeles artist Nao Bustamante‘s short films break with convention and go beyond!
Donald Trump‘s legal woes trigger Randy Rainbow’s He’s Just a GURL Who’ll Quid Pro Quo!
A Rainbow Minute celebrates U.S. Civil War Surgeon Mary Edwards Walker!
Thai lesbians sue for marriage rights, Zimbabwe trans activist beats her bathroom bust, third U.S. federal court rips Trump’s religious bias rule, gay Saudi couple faces an Australian asylum nightmare, did a higher power punish homophobic Aussie rugby star Israel Folau, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of November 25, 2019
DELUSIONAL & Quid Pro Rainbow!
Program #1,652 distributed 11/25/19
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): A Thai lesbian couple files suit in the
Feature: Put together 25 years of a world famous Los Angeles artist’s work
Feature: If impeachment hearings in the U.S. House of
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending November 23, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Laura Dickinson-Turner and John Dyer V,produced by Brian DeShazor
A lesbian couple has filed a petition in Thailand’s Constitutional Court after their request to register their marriage was rebuffed. The illegal bias lawsuit was submitted on November 22nd through the advocacy group Foundation for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Rights and Justice. Spokeswoman Naiyana Supapung told The Straits Times that, “The Thai Constitution guarantees our birth rights of having a family and descendants. It also protects us citizens against discrimination of all kinds, including gender.”
The petition charges that denying marriage equality violates Thailand’s Civil and Commercial Code. It states that, “all persons are equal before the law, and shall have rights and liberties and be protected equally under the law.”
Anjana Suvarnananda of the LGBTQ rights group Anjaree Foundation told Reuters that the legal challenge is “risky.” She says she’s worried that ”the outdated notion of marriage will persist for a while” if the court challenge fails.
Douglas Sanders is an academic associate at the Mahidol University in Bangkok who has researched the burgeoning movement for marriage equality in Asia. He told Reuters that even losing the court fight “isn’t always terrible … it is on TV, in the papers, and on social media, which gives the issue, the individuals and organizations visibility.”
Meanwhile, Thai lawmakers are considering a less-than-marriage Civil Partnership Bill for same-gender couples. The draft legislation being developed has brought mixed reviews from equality activists. It does not grant same-gender couples the full range of heterosexual spousal benefits or allow queer couples to adopt. Some in the community say it’s a good first step. Others argue that it will perpetuate the second-class status of gay and lesbian couples.
Four out and proud LGBTQ Thais were elected to Parliament in national elections earlier this year. They’re expected to push for expanded rights, ranging from changing restrictive dress codes to marriage equality.
Thailand has had the reputation of being one of the more queer-welcoming countries in Asia since homosexual acts were decriminalized there in 1956. According to a survey by the United Nations Development Program last year, two in three Thais say they have no objection to same-gender unions.
A crusading transgender activist won a historic court ruling in Zimbabwe on November 21st. High Court Justice Francis Bere found that the arrest and three-day detention of trans woman Ricky “Rikki” Nathanson was “both thoughtless and malicious.” It all began with Nathanson’s 2014 bathroom arrest by six police officers in riot gear for using the women’s bathroom in a Harare bar. The written ruling condemned several “crude” invasive medical examinations that Nathanson was forced to undergo while in custody. Justice Bere concluded that “the conduct of the police in arresting and detaining her was quite outrageous.”
Nathanson’s lawsuit asked for the equivalent of 2.7-million-U.S. dollars in damages, but the judge awarded her only about 1100 dollars. In his words the amount was “not meant to enrich the victim, but to try and salvage some kind of dignity for the pain endured.” He did order the defendants to also pay court costs.
Nathanson was granted U.S. asylum last year after documenting the pervasive persecution she experienced in the oppressively anti-queer southern African nation. She now lives in a suburb of Washington, D.C. and works for a trans rights organization.
Zimbabwe’s rabidly homophobic dictator Robert Mugabe ruled the country for 20 years with an iron fist. LGBTQ people were regular targets of his vile rhetoric until he was overthrown in 2017. He died in September. The online news site iharare.com noted that Nathanson’s victory was all the more remarkable because it was launched during Mugabe’s tenure. The site headlined its report of this story “Mugabe Turning In His Grave.”
A third U.S. federal judge has rejected the Trump administration’s policy to allow discrimination against LGBTQ people based on “religious freedom.” The policy covered any program or agency getting federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, or H-H-S. announced on November 1st
The rule change was yet another attempt to rollback anti-bias protections established during the administration of President Barack Obama. It allows federally funded healthcare providers to cite “moral or religious” objections for denying abortion services, contraception, gender confirmation surgery, or other services.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California minced no words in his decision. Alsup wrote, “When a rule is so saturated with error, as here, there is no point trying to sever the problematic provisions. The whole rule must go.” District judges in New York and Washington had already come to the same conclusion.
The LGBTQ advocacy group Lambda Legal was one of the plaintiffs in the California court challenge. Senior Attorney Jamie Gliksberg said in a written statement that, “The ‘Denial of Care Rule’ targets some of our most marginalized and vulnerable communities and deserves to be relegated to the dustbin of history.”
The rulings apparently don’t address other services the announced rule changes would allow groups receiving H.H.S. funding to deny based on moral or religious belief. Those include adoption and foster care placement, homeless shelters, or HIV services.
Australian immigration authorities are treating an asylum-seeking gay journalist couple from Saudi Arabia as badly as the homeland they were forced to flee. On their arrival in Australia, the men were were searched, handcuffed and taken to a detention center. Their pseudonyms are “Sultan” and “Nassar.” They’ve been together for 16 years. According to the Sydney Star Observer, “Sultan” said that he and “Nassar” fear being deported back to Saudi Arabia, where he says they would “get immediately picked up and thrown into prison, and possibly made to disappear. … If I had any idea this was going to happen to us,” he said, “we would have gone to another country.”
The queer advocacy group just.equal accused the Australian government of “doing the job of the Saudi government by detaining the men.”
The couple lived a relatively lavish life in Rihyadh, although deeply closeted. Homosexual acts can be punished by execution. “Sultan” says he worked for the Media Ministry, and defended the regime to international reporters. He also sometimes worked with foreign journalists as a field producer. “Sultan” says he came under suspicion for passing negative information about the regime to foreign journalists, a charge he denies.
But as much as they probably tried to keep it a secret, Sultan’s superiors apparently knew about his relationship with “Nassar.” There were rumors that the couple might be outed. Then they were each called separately to report to the Riyadh police department for a criminal investigation. “That’s when we said, ‘Oh my God’,” according to “Sultan.” He says they were “left with no choice but to leave the kingdom and seek asylum elsewhere.”
Human rights lawyer Alison Battisson told the Australian edition of The Guardian that under the country’s “convoluted” immigration laws, “There is no limit to the length of time these people can spend in detention.”
An online petition demands their immediate release with what are called “bridging visas” that would allow them to stay in the country while their case is being processed. It’s not known if thousands of signatures will have any impact on the couple’s fate.
Saudi Arabia’s state security agency defines homosexuality, feminism and atheism as forms of “extremism.”
Finally, former Australian rugby star Israel Folau made waves again this week as bushfires ravaged parts of his country. In a sermon at his father’s allegedly cult-like evangelical Christian church, he linked the natural disaster to the advent of marriage equality and relaxed abortion laws:
Folau: “Look how rampant these bushfires, these droughts. All these things have come in a short period of time. You think it’s a coincidence or not? God is speaking to you guys. Australia, you need to repent. A little taste of what? God’s judgment.”
The sermon was posted to Facebook. Folau was fired by Rugby Australia for violating provisions of his employment contract with social media posts vilifying LGBTQ people. He’s suing Rugby Australia for unlawful termination based on his religious belief.
Then came word that Folau unknowingly made a donation to a queer youth organization. The embattled rugby star and his wife Maria dined recently at Gorilla Kitchen, a vegan restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand. The lesbian owners and operators of the eatery announced in a Facebook posting that Folau’s payment for the meals was being donated to Rainbow Youth, a support group for vulnerable LGBTQ young people. They said they didn’t ask the Folaus to leave because it would make a more positive point to serve them. The post continued, “We found it quietly amusing he ate food cooked by a lesbian and then served by a lesbian. We haven’t gone to hell yet!”
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