The Golden Globe Awards’ queerest moments feature Bernie Taupin, Elton John, Taron Egerton, Renee Zellweger, Kate McKinnon and Ellen DeGeneres!
Recall how ONE Magazine’s U.S. high court LGBTQ rights fight became the first one!
China accepts petitions for marriage equality, Brazil’s Supreme Court resurrects the “gay Jesus” Netflix parody, a U.S. appeals court rescues HIV+ Airmen, Poland left-wingers make an “out” lawmaker their presidential pick, Buttigieg burns Trump on believing, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of January 13, 2020
Globes and Glory!
Program #1,659 distributed 01/13/20
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): China’s government accepts petitions
Feature: Queer performers, allies and LGBTQ content had a powerful
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending January 11, 2020 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Wenzel Jones and Michael LeBeau,produced by Brian DeShazor
China’s National People’s Congress is publically accepting online petitions in favor of opening marriage to lesbian and gay couples during its current review and update of the country’s civil code. Queer activists are applauding the “baby step,” and are cautiously optimistic that further steps toward equality are ahead.
Congressional legislative affairs committee spokesman Yue Zhongming said at a press conference that they had received more than 237,000 online messages and 5,600 letters calling for marriage equality to be written into China’s civil marriage and family code. Peng Yanzi of LGBT Rights Advocacy China told NBC News that, “We were very happy, pleasantly surprised by the news.”
The Chinese news website iFeng reported almost 60 percent of the nearly 4.5 million people who responded to its poll supported marriage equality. 2.8 million respondents were opposed – that’s about 38 percent.
21-year-old Shenzen lesbian Gao Qianhui told NBC News that she doesn’t expect any immediate progress. Now that the subject is, in her words “publicly and officially on the table,” it “gives the LGBT community hope for the first time after years of hiding and struggling.”
Another sign of hope for equality activists in the New Year came from a 23-second ad for Tmall, an e-commerce platform owned by China’s web giant Alibaba. The ad features a young man bringing another young man home for the Chinese New Year holiday. Two quietly giggling girls seem to recognize that “Kelvin” is more than just a friend. At the dinner table, the father hands “Kelvin” a bowl of soup. Kelvin responds “Thanks, Dad,” and an awkward silence ensues. A voice-over announcer then promotes a sale on dried seeds and nuts — spoofing a Chinese expression for “watching drama unfold”.
According to CNN Business, the video went viral after it was posted on China’s giant Twitter-like social media website Weibo. It’s had millions of views, and support far outweighs the opposition among more than 4,500 comments to date.
Alibaba’s “nothing queer to see here” media statement simply explains that, “Chinese New Year is a time for family reunion and inclusion, and the ad is a creative expression to celebrate such an occasion.”
Marriage equality is apparently unattainable in the Philippines for the foreseeable future. The Supreme Court announced on January 5th that it was rejecting a final appeal in a lawsuit challenging the Family Code’s heterosexual-only marriage provisions. Openly gay lawyer Jesus Falcis III began that fight in 2015. The ruling says, “No further pleadings or motions will be entertained.”
In its September dismissal, the high court’s three main points were that the attorney had no legal standing to file the lawsuit, that he had violated the court hierarchy by filing there instead of lower courts, and that he had failed “to raise an actual, justiciable controversy.”
This week the justices reaffirmed their belief that the issue needed to be addressed by lawmakers, not judges.
Religious conservatives in the heavily Roman Catholic East Asian nation praised the ruling. House Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva also leads the group Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide. He said that opening civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples would be “tantamount to denying our identity as a people and a betrayal of our deep-held morals.”
High drama played out in Brazil’s Supreme Court this week. An appeals court judge in Rio de Janeiro ordered Netflix to remove its The First Temptation of Christ holiday special after religious conservatives filed suit claiming that the video was blasphemous. The Portuguese-language satire has Jesus bringing home his boyfriend “Orlando” to meet the Holy Family.
It’s an episode of a comedy sketch show called Porta Dos Fundo, or “The Back Door.” The production company’s Rio headquarters were firebombed with Molotov cocktails during the early morning hours of Christmas Eve. A security guard managed to extinguish the flames. One attacker later fled to Russia, bragging about the attack. Brazilian officials have requested the assistance of Interpol to help locate and detain him.
The rightwing Christian group’s lawsuit had been rejected in a lower court, but the appeals court judge supported their demand on January 9th that the comedy be removed. Then Brazil’s Supreme Court accepted an appeal and ruled in favor of Netflix the following day. Supreme Court President Dias Toffoli said that “One cannot suppose that a humorous satire has the ability to weaken the values of the Christian faith, whose existence is traced back more than two thousand years, and which is the belief of the majority of Brazilian citizens.”
The U.K. queer Pink News website headlined their report, “He is risen! Netflix wins appeal …”
A U.S. federal appeals court has upheld an injunction preventing the discharge of two Air Force servicemen simply because they are HIV-positive.
Judge James A. Wynn, Jr. wrote the decision for the three-judge appeals court panel. It agreed with the two Airmen whose 2018 lawsuit challenged the Trump administration over their discharges. Wynn wrote that, “A ban on deployment may have been justified at a time when HIV treatment was less effective at managing the virus and reducing transmission risks.” He called support for a blanket ban on HIV-positive service members “outmoded and at odds with current science.”
The ruling covers not only the two Airmen, but other Air Force personnel living with HIV. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema issued the original injunction that now still prevents the Trump administration from discriminating against HIV-positive service members. She is expected to decide on the merits of the case at a later date.
The two Airmen’s attorneys are also working on a companion case that is heading to its first court date. The plaintiff there is an enlistee who was denied a commission as a JAG officer based only on his HIV status.
The European Parliament ended 2019 by slamming the widespread campaign in Poland to create “LGBTI-Free Zones.” The parliamentarians called on the Polish government to “revoke all resolutions attacking LGBTI rights” by dozens of municipal governments that have designated “zones free from any LGBTI ideology.” The December 18th vote was 463 to 107.
Poland’s entrenched rightwing Law and Justice Party government has staunchly opposed any queer rights advances. It has the backing of the politically powerful Roman Catholic Church. Longtime Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has said that people who support LGBTQ rights “threaten our identity, threaten our nation, [and] threaten the Polish state.”
Last year saw a spike in anti-queer violence in the Eastern European nation. That was most evident in the brazen assaults by homophobic rightwing thugs against Pride marchers in smaller cities.
The Law and Justice Party is ramping up its homophobic vitriol ahead of the country’s upcoming general elections. That tactic was successful during the last election cycle.
Meanwhile, Poland’s progressive political parties are nominating openly gay lawmaker Robert Biedron as their candidate in the May presidential election. Leaders in the leftwing coalition said Biedron was chosen on January 7th because of his clear support for women’s rights and the separation of church and state. They believe both have eroded since 2015 during the tenure of the Law and Justice Party.
The 44-year-old Biedron faces a steep uphill battle against incumbent President Andrzej Duda. There’s also a relatively more liberal candidate supported by the country’s major opposition party, the Civic Platform.
Biedron is currently a Member of the European Parliament. He’s well known for his queer rights work, especially pushing for the legal recognition of same-gender couples in Poland. He’s also a climate change activist, and supports free access to contraception and abortion rights.
Despite having little to no realistic chance of winning, Biedron nevertheless tweeted that the nomination itself is “a great honor.”
There were two notable stories this week featuring U.S. Democratic Party presidential contender Pete Buttigieg.
The first out gay to rise this far in the race has picked up his first endorsement by a Black member of Congress. Representative Anthony Brown of Maryland told the Washington Post this week that Buttigieg “is the guy to lead our nation after we defeat Donald Trump and have to pick up the pieces and repair the damage of the last four years.” The endorsement from former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Brown is seen as significant because polling consistently shows African-American support for Buttigieg to be virtually microscopic.
Still known as “Mayor Pete,” Buttigieg’s term as South Bend, Indiana’s chief executive expired on January 1st.
Finally, there’s the more entertaining second Buttigieg story this week – at least from our perspective. It’s the candidate’s response to reports that once-upon-a-time Democrat Donald Trump appears to sometimes be obsessed with him.
Trump lambasted the Democratic presidential wannabes at a rally of evangelicals this week for what he called “trying to … replace God with socialism.” Ignoring the former mayor’s Catholic school upbringing, Trump charged that Buttigieg in particular is “trying to pretend he’s very religious … this happened about two weeks ago.”
Buttigieg told MSNBC that he didn’t know why Trump has taken such an interest in him.
[Buttigieg sound:] “I just don’t know where that’s coming from. You know, certainly, it has been a complex journey for me, as it is for a lot of people. But I’m pretty sure I’ve been a believer longer than he’s been a Republican.”
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