The Lavender Scare examines the 1950’s purge of gay and lesbian U.S. federal employees, the witch hunt that was no match for the fearless Frank Kameny!
Catherine Cusset’s biography Life of David Hockney gets fictional to paint the famed gay artist!
Outcasting Overtime youth activist Alex assesses the bi battles of his identity journey (introduced by Lucas, produced by Marc Sophos)!
Britain’s Parliament advances Northern Ireland marriage equality, Botswana’s government appeals queer sex decriminalization, Pride comes to Tblisi in defiant March of Dignity, rights groups challenge South Korea’s military gay sex ban, and more international LGBTQ news.
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of July 15, 2019
Hockney’s Life & Lavender Scare!
Program #1,633 distributed 07/15/19
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Britain’s House of Commons votes
Feature: Every stereotype begins with a grain of truth. Since nobody wants to be considered stereotypical, it can be tough when that grain of truth
Feature: The New York Times Book Review says that Catherine Cusset
Feature: Present president excluded, there have been real witch hunts in U.S.
The Lavender Scare, with DAVID HYDE PIERCE as the voice of trailblazing gay activist Frank Kameny. It takes two Rainbow Minutes to tell Kameny’s story, which bookend This Way Out Entertainment Reporter JOHN DYER V’s review of the compelling documentary (Rainbow Minutes produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS and read, respectively, by TOM MILLER and CHRIS DELBOM).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending July 13, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Jessica Andrea and John Dyer V,produced by Brian DeShazor
Marriage equality is finally coming to Northern Ireland – one way or another. MPs in Britain’s House of Commons voted on July 9th to give Northern Ireland’s Assembly until October 21st to open civil marriage to same-gender couples. If that fails, then Parliament will take the necessary steps to do it. The measure passed overwhelmingly, and also liberalizes abortion rights in the recalcitrant region.
Northern Ireland’s Assembly became dysfunctional in 2017. “Irreconcilable differences” between the major political parties on how to resolve such important issues led to the breakdown.
Surveys have shown a majority of people in Northern Ireland favor marriage equality. Even so, the ruling Democratic Unionist Party — the D.U.P — has used its legal prerogative to block all efforts to move the competing Sinn Fein Party’s marriage equality bill through the Assembly.
Equality activists have been calling on the British government to step in ever since marriage equality was established in England, Scotland and Wales in 2014. In 2015 the Republic of Ireland became the first country to legalize civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples by popular vote.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May’s resistance to calls for parliamentary intervention made this week’s move a surprise. On the other hand, Northern Ireland is the last major part of the United Kingdom without marriage equality. With no resolution in sight in the Assembly, British MPs decided to act.
Sinn Fein spokesperson Connor Murphy told the BBC that “Our preference is for the Assembly to do this, but in the absence, Westminster has a responsibility to legislate for these matters.”
At least a few D.U.P. members are privately expressing relief that the British Parliament is relieving them of having to deal with the socially contentious issues. That’s of course assuming that the legislative stalemate continues in Northern Ireland past the October 21st deadline.
The bill must still be approved by Britain’s House of Lords. The BBC says that it’s unlikely to be rejected there.
Botswana Attorney-General Abraham Keetshabe has announced that his government is appealing last month’s High Court ruling that overturned the laws against consensual adult same-gender sex. Keetshabe didn’t specify the grounds for appeal. He said only that, “I am of the view that the High Court erred in arriving at this conclusion.”
A press statement from Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana called the move disappointing, and said, “It suggests that LGBTI’s lives should be determined by the majority, which is wrong.”
A three-judge panel of the High Court decided in June that the southern African nation’s colonial-era statutes were unconstitutional. Consensual adult same-gender sex could be punished with up to 7 years in prison. The judges ruled unanimously that those provisions of the penal code violated privacy, liberty, and dignity, and served no public interest. They wrote that, “Any discrimination against a member of society is discrimination against all.”
There has been no word about when the case might be heard by Botswana’s Court of Appeal.
About two-dozen brave activists defiantly marched for Pride in Tblisi, Georgia on July 8th. A police crackdown on anti-Russian protests in the eastern European nation’s capital forced the cancelation of a parade planned for June 22nd. But organizers had faced strong opposition before then. The government said that participants’ safety could not be guaranteed, and warned of possible attacks by anti-queer rightwing groups. The country’s politically powerful Orthodox Church also weighed in with the charge that the event would promote “the sin of Sodom.” They said it was “against the Christian faith, traditional religious teachings, and moral values.”
People holding signs and waving rainbow flags marched for about 30 minutes outside the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Then word spread that forces intent on violence were heading for the area. Organizer Giorgi Tabagari said that details shared online about the “March of Dignity” were leaked to anti-queer protestors. He told Reuters that the threatened violent opposition probably suppressed the number of LGBTQ Pride participants. A relatively peaceful counter-demonstration was held nearby with no physical confrontations, although Tabagari said that homophobes chased him in his car for a few blocks after the march. He called the Pride event “very significant. … Visibility is important.”
An independent expert on protecting LGBTQ+ people from violence and discrimination has been extended by the United Nations Human Rights Council for another three years.
The post has been held by Costa Rican jurist Victor Madrigal-Borloz since 2018.
His mandate was extended by a resolution during the 41st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Twenty-seven member states voted in favor, 12 voted no. Seven abstained – including India.
Well-known anti-queer regimes Egypt and Pakistan led efforts to stop or limit the extension with bothersome amendments. But speaking for the majority, Fiji representative Nazhat Shameem Khan insisted that, “All people are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Human rights are universal.”
The resolution was championed by a number of representatives from Latin American nations. There’s been no United States representative on the U.N. Human Rights Council since last year. The Trump administration yanked the country’s membership over what it obtusely called “ideological differences.”
The global queer advocacy group Outright Action International calls the U.N. and its Human Rights Council “ports of last call [for LGBTQ+ people] when their own governments fail them.”
Amnesty International is calling on the government of South Korea to end the criminalization of gay sex in its predominantly male military. Accused personnel are usually kicked out for what’s called “disgraceful conduct.” There are no laws banning consensual adult same-gender sex by civilians.
All qualified men in South Korea are required to serve for at least 21 months of active duty. A few court cases have eroded conscription requirements to some degree, but officials justify the forced service because they are still technically at war with North Korea. The two Koreas signed an armistice in 1953, but never a peace treaty.
Higher-ups in South Korea’s armed forces believe that allowing gay conscripts to have consensual sex somehow diminishes discipline and readiness. Super-masculinity is also stressed in the ranks, and effeminate conscripts have an especially difficult time.
Amnesty’s report issued on July 11th is called Serving in Silence: LGBTI People in South Korea’s Military. The global human rights group documents how harassment, intimidation and outings are ruining lives. Dozens of soldiers spoke on the condition of anonymity. Specific cases often involved command officers using their power over lower-ranking personnel. The report blames “an institutional failure” for the persistent problems.
The report concludes, “This hostile environment fosters abuse and bullying of young men who stay silent out of fear of reprisals.”
Global advocate Human Rights Watch submitted an amicus brief in March in a case challenging the military gay sex ban that’s now before South Korea’s Constitutional Court. It says the ban “violates many norms of international law.”
A defense spending bill amendment that overturns Donald Trump’s ban on military service by transgender people passed the U.S. House of Representatives on July 11th. Ten Republicans joined the Democratic majority to approve the amendment, sponsored by California Congresswoman Jackie Speier. It’s unlikely that the measure will survive in the Republican-controlled Senate, but Speier hailed its bi-partisan passage as “a watershed moment in the fight to celebrate and protect open transgender military service.”
The U.S. Supreme Court allowed Trump’s ban on trans military service to take effect in April, while its legality is still being challenged in lower courts.
U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team outspoken and proud lesbian co-captain Megan Rapinoe spent the past week as the “toast of the town” wherever she went – including a classic New York City ticker-tape parade on July 10th for her team celebrating its historic fourth World Cup win. Shortly after grabbing two of the top trophies for her individual performance during the tournament, Rapinoe exclaimed “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team!”
In her stirring speech calling for equal pay for women in the sport, Rapinoe challenged anyone who was listening:
[Rapinoe:] “This is my charge to everyone. We have to be better. We have to love more; hate less. We gotta listen more and talk less. We gotta know that this is everybody’s responsibility. Every single person here. Every single person who’s not here. Every single person who doesn’t want to be here. Every single person who agrees and doesn’t agree. It’s our responsibility to make this world a better place.”
Rapinoe also seems to be winning a Twitter-tussle with President Donald Trump. Before the game she emphatically with a capital “F” declared she was not interested in being hosted at the White House if her team won. Trump disparaged the team’s prospects at the time, but has been silent since.
And finally, Megan Rapinoe was a big winner again late this week at the 2019 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards, accepting the Generation of Change Award. She shared the spotlight with Legend Award winner Dwyane Wade, three-time National Basketball Association champ and Olympic gold-medalist.
Too bad Wade was not honored for his pro-queer parenting. He posted pictures on Instagram of his youngest son Zion celebrating at Miami Beach LGBTQ Pride festivities earlier this year with his actress stepmom Gabrielle Union and his older siblings. Wade captioned his posts, “We support each other with Pride!” He told Variety that it was simply “my job as a father.”
The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards ceremonies will be cable-casted on August 10th.
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