Radical gay men like Don Kilhefner and the late Mark Thompson have been believing in Faeries for 40 years this week, and in a 2009 conversation they recalled how it all began!
A Rainbow Minute that’s as Gay as Gertrude Stein!
And in NewsWrap: Chinese lawmakers reject equal marriage, the Palestinian Authority bans pro-LGBTQ events in the West Bank, Brazil’s Bolsonaro blocks funding for a gay TV series, a U.S. Justice Dept. Supreme Court brief argues against discrimination protections for trans people, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of August 26, 2019
Faeries at 40!
Program #1,639 distributed 08/26/19
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Chinese lawmakers reject marriage
Feature: Is there something more than “sexual” about the “orientation” of
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending August 26, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and John Dyer V, produced by Brian DeShazor
A spokesman for the Parliament of the People’s Republic of China said this week that lawmakers have no intention of changing the country’s marriage laws to include same-gender couples. Zang Tiewei told reporters during an August 21st news briefing that, “This rule suits our country’s national condition and historical and cultural traditions.” He also correctly pointed out that, “the vast majority of countries in the world do not recognize the legalization of same-sex marriage.”
The Republic of China, or Taiwan, opened the civil institution to gay and lesbian couples three months ago. Since then, mainland Chinese officials have had to address the issue. Private consensual adult same-gender sex is not against the law there, but LGBTQ people have no specified legal rights. Homosexuality remains a generally taboo subject, especially outside the major cities of the world’s most populous country.
Parts of a revised civil code governing heterosexual-only marriage are expected to become law in 2020. Reuters noted that parliament usually rubber-stamps bills by the ruling Communist Party.
Serbia’s government has banned lesbians and gay men from accessing artificial insemination services. Anyone who has had “homosexual relations during the past five years” is now prohibited from donating eggs or sperm for insemination purposes. Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar apparently announced the policy in March, but it only came to light this week in a Radio Free Europe report.
The policy was unveiled a month after the partner of Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic gave birth to a baby boy. Brnabic’s partner Milica Djurdjic reportedly received in vitro fertilization abroad.
Even so, if any queer couple gets medical services abroad, only the biological mother is recognized by Serbia as the legal parent.
Serbia’s revised 2006 constitution specifically defines civil marriage as a union between one man and one woman. However the socially conservative Balkan nation does have laws banning discrimination in the workplace, education, media, and other areas. Queer activists charge that those laws are rarely enforced. Cynics say that Brnabic’s mentor President Aleksandar Vucic only elevated her to Prime Minister to bolster Serbia’s entry into the European Union.
Brnabic herself has been criticized for failing to advance any LGBTQ rights measures since her tenure began in June 2017. Activists complain that the P.M. has the financial means to add to her family, and a position of power that protects her from the problems faced by most Serbian LGBTQ people.
Several nongovernmental organizations have filed a formal challenge to the new policy. They say it’s a violation of the constitution and the country’s anti-discrimination laws.
The Palestinian Authority has banned all queer-supportive events in the West Bank. It’s a response to a mid-August get-together in the city of Nablus organized by the grassroots LGBTQ group Al-Qaws.
Al-Qaws has operated since 2001 in both the West Bank and among Arab-Israelis. Its goals include “building LGBTQ communities and promoting new ideas about the role of gender and sexual diversity in political activism, civil society institutions, media, and everyday life.”
Palestinian Authority Police spokesman Colonel Louai Irzeiqat told reporters that police only learned about the Nablus gathering soon after it was over. He accused Al-Qaws of working to “create discord and harm civil peace,” and said that their activities are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society.” Irzeiqat asked members of the public to report any suspiciously queer activities. Ahmad Harb of the Independent Commission for Human Rights charged the police with essentially approving vigilante action.
According to The New York Times, Al Qaws called off a similar gathering in Ramallah after threats of violence spread on social media.
Al-Qaws issued a statement condemning the police ban on its events, and defiantly vowed to continue its work. The statement read, “We believe that the police and Palestinian society at large should focus on combating the occupation and other forms of violence that tear apart the sensitive fabric of our society and values, instead of prosecuting activists who work tirelessly to end all forms of violence.”
Brazil’s proudly homophobic President Jair Bolsonaro has now made it impossible for LGBTQ filmmakers to get government financing for their work. The national film agency ANCINE had approved state funding for a TV series about the life of gay black men in Brasilia, the nation’s capital. Afronte is written and directed by Bruno Victor and Marcus Azevedo. Bolsonaro stepped in, ordering ANCINE to withdraw its financial support for the project. During a Facebook Live appearance last week the president specifically criticized Afronte and three other queer-themed proposals with unacceptable “gender diversity” and “sexuality.” Bolsonaro threatened to shut down ANCINE in July if it failed to apply government-backed “filters” to the projects it invests in. He called funding LGBTQ-themed projects “throwing money away,” and demanded that the agency only support projects that reflect “family values.”
ANCINE has a budget equivalent to nearly 17-and-a-half million U.S. dollars. Bolsonaro’s interference has temporarily suspended any further funding awards, even though only a few include queer themes or content. Variety reports that the Bolsonaro administration plans to review “the criteria and guidelines for the application of resources” during the next six months.
Bruno and Azevedo were set to receive the equivalent of 99 thousand U.S. dollars for their five-episode Afronte TV series. The other three Bolsonaro-targeted queer-themed projects were only in the application stage.
The University of Säo Paulo says that about 70 per cent of all films produced in Brazil depend on public funding.
The country’s Association of Independent Audiovisual Producers issued a statement condemning the Bolsonaro intervention. It said, “It is not up to anyone, especially the president of a democratic republic, to censor art, audiovisual projects and films.”
A group of queer Brazilian filmmakers is reportedly planning to file a legal challenge to the new policy.
Bolsonaro has been dubbed “the Donald Trump of the Tropics.” He turned heads again this week by claiming that the horrendous fires engulfing the eco-critical Amazon rainforests were actually started by his political opponents to make him look bad.
In this week’s installment of “What has the ‘real Donald Trump’ done now,” the U.S. Department of Justice filed a rightwing-backed anti-queer brief with the Supreme Court this week. It argues that federal law does not and should not protect trans people from losing their jobs for expressing their gender identity.
The filing comes ahead of high court hearings scheduled for October addressing three LGBTQ workplace bias cases. One of them involves a transgender plaintiff, and the other two deal with sexual orientation. The central question is whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlaws bias based on sex extends to gender identity or expression and sexual orientation.
The dd filing contends that Congress never intended Title VII to protect LGBTQ people from hiring bias when it passed the landmark legislation 55 years ago. The brief also notes the failure of Congress thus far to pass specific legislation protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination under federal law. The Equality Act would do that for the workplace and other areas of life. It passed in the current session of the Democratic Party-controlled U.S. House. However, it would be a shocker if Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed so much as a debate on the measure in his chamber.
Especially since the advent of marriage equality, a depressing majority of people in the U.S. mistakenly believe that federal law already protects LGBTQ people from discrimination.
Finally, at least one Board member resigned and several prominent members quit the Log Cabin Republicans this week following the organization’s unexpectedly early endorsement of Donald Trump for re-election. The queer political group did not endorse Trump in the 2016 election.
The group’s leadership now praises what they called Trump’s “bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community” in an August 16th opinion piece in The Washington Post – this despite several annoying facts to the contrary.
Former DC Log Cabin Republicans chair Robert Turner explained his resignation on Facebook, calling the national leadership’s “hollow WaPo op ed … a step too far.”
Board member and former New Hampshire state Republican Party chair Jennifer Horn also tendered her resignation. Horn told Slate that, “There is no world where I can … explain to my children that I just endorsed Donald Trump for president.”
The Log Cabin Republicans’ only out transgender Republican official Jordan Evans announced their resignation in the pages of The Advocate, charging that the Trump endorsement “ignores the reality of what it means to be queer in our current political climate.”
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