Brussels-based academic and activist Remy Bonny tracks Russia’s deployment of homophobia in its war against liberal democracies, with the aid of anti-LGBTQ groups from the U.S. (the disturbing conclusion of William Brougham’s two-part interview).
Thousands come out for Sarajevo’s first-ever Pride Parade, Marvel’s gay Avengers beat bias in Rio, Canada’s first Chick-fil-A ruffles Toronto feathers, Maryland gay dads sue the State Department for their baby’s U.S. citizenship, Ireland and Iceland roll out the rainbows for “not homophobic” U.S. Vice President Mike “Pounce,” and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of September 16, 2019
From Russia with Homophobia!
Program #1,642 distributed 09/16/19
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Sarajevo becomes the latest city on the
Feature: Last time on This Way Out, Belgian political scientist and LGBTQ
Remy Bonny in Brussels talked about the Putin regime’s impact on queer life in Russia … but the agenda goes beyond just institutionalizing homophobia. In the conclusion of This Way Out Sydney correspondent WILLIAM BROUGHAM’s exclusive two-part interview, Bonny draws the
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending September 14, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Rob Lecrone and Tanya Kane-Parry,produced by Brian DeShazor
[sound: crowd sfx, faded down, under and out @ ca :12 for:]
That’s the sound of the very first LGBTQ Pride Parade in Sarajevo. As many as three thousand people marched on September 8th behind a pink banner proclaiming “Ima Izac,” which roughly translates “I Want to Come Out.” Foreign diplomats joined the almost mile-long procession down the central streets of the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Marchers protested widespread anti-queer hate crimes in the Western Balkan nation. They waved rainbow flags, sang anti-fascist songs, and carried placards with messages like “Love is not a Privilege” and “Queer Resistance.” The march ended with a rally in front of the Parliament building.
Pride organizer Branko Culibrk told The Sarajevo Times that they were demanding “a society free of violence and homophobia, legalization of same-sex marriage, [and] healthcare for trans people and change of documents.”
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a Muslim-majority country of three-and-a-half million people. Islamic extremists attacked participants at queer-supportive events in Sarajevo in 2008 and 2014. Conservative Muslim groups organized counter-protests for this week, so about a thousand police officers were deployed along the parade route to discourage violent confrontations. Sniper units were reportedly also set up on building tops. Fortunately there were no incidents.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has ostensibly outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation, but LGBTQ people have no affirmative rights.
The first same-gender weddings in Northern Ireland will take place on Valentine’s Day 2020. The British Parliament had voted on July 9th to give the dysfunctional Northern Ireland government until October 21st to enact marriage equality. Otherwise Parliament would force the issue in January. Few if any are expecting that to happen, so the now dysfunctional British government announced on September 9th that January 13th would be the day. There’s a 28-day waiting period after a couple submits a notice of intention to marry.
Northern Ireland Office Minister Lord Duncan of Springbank confirmed the February 14th date for the first queer weddings in a speech this week in the House of Lords.
Patrick Corrigan is Northern Ireland Director for Amnesty International and a leader in the Love Equality campaign group. Corrigan said, “There could not be a more fitting date for Northern Ireland’s first same-sex weddings than Valentine’s Day, the feast of love.”
Northern Ireland will be the last part of the United Kingdom to bestow that right.
Brazil’s largest newspaper featured two male Avengers kissing on its September 7th front page. Folha de São Paulo’s dedication was just one response to an attempt by the mayor of Rio de Janeiro to have copies of the Marvel comic book Avengers: The Children’s Crusade removed from a book fair. Mayor Marcelo Crivella charged that the comic includes content unsuitable for minors. The illustration in question shows Marvel’s committed gay superhero couple Wiccan and Hulkling in a passionate embrace.
The BBC says that the luxury hardcover version displayed at the book fair has been available in Brazil since 2012.
Mayor Crivella created the controversy when he demanded on Twitter that, “Books like this need to be wrapped in black sealed plastic with a content warning displayed on the outside.” He’s a former Roman Catholic bishop who has previously condemned same-gender love as “evil behavior.”
Brazil’s Attorney General Raquel Dodge challenged the mayor’s censorship efforts at Brazil’s Supreme Court, arguing that Crivella was trying to subvert freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas. Chief Justice José Dias Toffoli ruled in Dodge’s favor on September 8th.
By the time agents arrived to try to confiscate them, copies of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade at the book fair had already sold out.
The front-page newspaper illustration mocking Crivella was not the only protest. The BBC reported that Brazilian YouTube star Felipe Neto handed out some 14,000 queer-themed books to fans the day before the high court decision was announced.
Crivella’s actions are yet another example of the rightward shift in Brazilian politics. Earlier this year the country’s “proudly homophobic” President Jair Bolsonaro demanded that all content referencing homosexuality, feminism, and violence against women be removed from school textbooks.
The owner of Canada’s first Chick-fil-A franchise is looking for some feathered friends. The Toronto store’s September 6th grand opening was greeted by about 60 LGBTQ rights advocates. They were demonstrating against the U.S.-based eatery because of its well publicized funding of anti-queer groups and causes. Protester Tommy King told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, “They’ve fought against equal rights in the states, and if they’re here, they’re probably going to do the same.” King’s compatriots carried signs reading, “Chick-fil-A is full-a homophobia,” and “Cluck off.”
The far-right evangelical Christian owners of Chick-fil-A unabashedly say that the company opposes marriage equality and supports “the biblical definition of a family.” They’ve donated millions of dollars to certifiably anti-queer U.S.-based groups like the Salvation Army, Focus on the Family, the “queer cure” group Exodus International, and the Family Research Council. While press statements from the company claim that its support for organized homophobia has stopped, reports persist that the chicken continues to supply its golden eggs.
Beleaguered franchise owner Wilson Yang told reporters that, “We … want all Torontonians to know they are welcome [here].”
The new outlet remained open during the daily protests — except on Sunday, of course. Chick-fil-A orders all its franchise owners to close for the Christian Sabbath.
Married gay dads in the state of Maryland filed suit this week against the State Department for refusing to recognize the U.S. citizenship of their daughter, who was born in February to a surrogate in Canada. The lawsuit also names Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a co-defendant.
Roee and Adiel Kiviti were both born in Israel. Roee was raised in Southern California and became a U.S. citizen in 2001, where he and Adiel legally married in 2013. Adiel became a U.S. citizen earlier this year.
Both men are listed on daughter Kessem’s Canadian birth certificate. However under Trump State Department guidelines, children of same-gender couples born outside the U.S. are considered to be “born out of wedlock.” Only the spouse with a biological connection to the child is recognized as the legal parent – and in this case that’s Adiel. U.S. citizenship is automatically granted in similar circumstances to the children of heterosexual couples. The “out of wedlock” status has proved to be a stumbling block in the couple’s efforts to have their daughter declared a U.S. citizen.
The couple is being represented by the groups Immigration Equality and Lambda Legal. Through their attorneys they said that, “Every parent wants to protect their child … The focus here is our little girl, whose rights are being infringed upon by our government.”
The couple also has son named Lev, born via Canadian surrogacy in 2016. When they applied for a U.S. passport for Lev early in the following year, it was quickly approved.
The lawsuit charges that current State Department policy “unconstitutionally disregard[s] the dignity and equality of the marriages of same-sex couples, and unlawfully discriminate[s] against children simply because their married parents are a same-sex couple.”
Immigration Equality’s Aaron C. Morris charged that, “the State Department is treating Roee and Adiel as second-class citizens, and treating Kessem as if she is not a citizen at all.”
The Kivitis’ lawsuit is just the latest challenge to the Trump administration policy by queer parents. The State Department is appealing another couple’s trial court level victory.
[sound: Trump “Mike Pounce” slur]
U.S. social media “pounced” all over President Trump’s latest vocal gaffe, this one mis-naming his Vice President. Speaking of Mr. Pence, he’s had another eventful past few weeks.
Pence probably squirmed at least internally during an official visit to Ireland in early September. There the Vice President and his wife Karen dined with openly gay Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and his spouse, Dr. Mike Barrett. Pence’s decision to stay in a Trump-owned property several miles from the meeting site has angered administration critics.
The Vice President was greeted in Iceland by rainbow flags along the route to his meeting with President Guðni Jóhannesson. Jóhannesson wore a rainbow-colored bracelet during photo ops to formally welcome him, as he did when he greeted Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Despite voluminous evidence to the contrary, the White House has consistently claimed that Pence is not homophobic.
However on September 13th, Pence was the headline speaker at a black-tie gala for the evangelical Christian group Concerned Women for America … held, of course, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has charted the group’s anti-queer positions, including its stated belief that marriage equality “entices children to experiment with homosexuality.”
Meanwhile Pence’s wife teaches part-time at a suburban D.C. Christian school that doesn’t allow LGBTQ students or staff.
What would make anyone think the couple is anti-queer?
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