An indictment against Pres. Donald Trump issued by two young anti-hate OutCasters!
The LGTBQ tradition of finding shaky sanctuary in Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars!
Plus singing Nashville ally grandma Sherri Gray salutes queer pioneers!
Dar es Salaam’s Governor announces an all-out queer purge, a multi-national security group probes alleged Chechen atrocities, Taipei Pride is tempered by marriage equality anxiety, library books abound after a fiery Iowa “Drag Queen Story Time” protest, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of November 5, 2018
Hope Trumps Hate!
Program #1,597 distributed 11/05/18
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Panicky Tanzanian queers are
Feature: From the campaign trail to the corridors of executive power,
Feature: This Way Out queer life and literature commentator JANET
Feature: The roots of hate run deep, but the resistance to hate has been
Satisfying your weekly minimum requirement of queer news and culture for more than 30 years!
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending November 3rd, 2018 Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, and reported this week by Michael LeBeau and John Dyer V
Life for LGBTQ people in Tanzania became a virtual horror story this week. Homophobia is already rife in the eastern African nation. Dar es Salaam Governor Paul Makonda has now called on everyone in his city – a major regional economic hub – to report suspected homosexuals to local officials so that they can be arrested. Makonda said that he’s setting up a committee to monitor online sites like Facebook and Twitter to identity suspects for arrest, because, as he told Agence France Presse, “These homosexuals boast on social networks.”
Makonda told Reuters late this week that he’d received close to six thousand messages reporting “homosexuals” or “homosexual behavior” so far, and that he already has a list of 100 LGBTQ people to have arrested.
The purge was expected to officially begin on November 5th. But a young, gay Tanzanian man whom Reuters identified only as “Nathan” claimed that homes were being raided and arrests had already begun.
Makonda’s announcement has sparked panic and fear across all of queer Tanzania, not just in Dar es Salaam. “We are really scared,” “Nathan” told Reuters. “We don’t know what to do and where to go.” Geofrey Mashala, a Tanzanian queer activist now living in California, told The Guardian that, “Even the parents of gay children are also living in great fear.” Foreign pressure thwarted a similar campaign in Tanzania in 2016. Queer activists are now calling on the rest of the world to force Makonda to abandon his efforts. An appeal by some Tanzanian LGBTQ people for refuge has already gone out to the United Nations.
More than 150 lawmakers from around the world meeting in the Canadian capital of Ottowa this week approved a seven-page Declaration condemning such things as female genital mutilation and child marriages, and vowing to take steps to prevent adolescent pregnancies and unsafe abortions, among a laundry list of things to combat. But the Inter-Parliamentary Union balked on addressing the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The best they could do in the final text identifying “marginalized” or “vulnerable” people was to replace “including LGBTI” in the original draft with “including sexual minorities.”
Objections came from a number of African and predominantly Muslim countries. A report by Inter Press Service quoted an unidentified lawmaker from the Middle East. “There are certain words, like LGBTI,” he said, “that are not acceptable in our country.” He’s not alone. At last count, being queer in more than 70 countries is against the law, not to mention having to endure pervasive and sometimes violent societal homophobia and trans-phobia.
According to a report in the Bay Area Reporter, a move to suppress any discussion of LGBTQ rights at a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva, Switzerland in mid-October was led by Uganda’s infamous anti-queer Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who has guided efforts to pass an Anti-Homosexuality Act in her country. She applauded the vote of 874 to 671 to ban debate on any LGBTQ issue, or what she called “uncivilized and un-Christian behaviors.” Anti-queer delegates from Russia, and several African, Asian, and Middle Eastern countries comprised the majority.
Michael Waters is a member of South Africa’s parliament, which put anti-bias protections for LGBTQ people in the nation’s post-apartheid Constitution in 1997, and approved marriage equality in 2006. He said on social media that the Inter-Parliamentary Union vote was “a very sad day for human rights.”
The 16-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has created a fact-finding committee to investigate long-standing allegations of a deadly anti-queer purge in the predominantly Muslim Russian region of Chechnya. Credible news reports earlier this year detailed the roundup and detention of gay and bisexual men, and then later lesbians, in what some described as “concentration camps,” where they were physically and mentally abused. Some died in custody. Others were eventually released into the custody of homophobic relatives and became victims of so-called family cleansing “honor killings.”
Chechen and Russian officials, including Vladimir Putin himself, claimed to have investigated the allegations and found them baseless.
The United States is among the Security and Cooperation member nations, and it’s one of the rare times that the Trump administration has acted on candidate Trump’s pledge to
[:08 Trump sound drop-in:] “do everything in my power to protect our L-G-B-T-Q citizens.”
The Organization invoked what’s called the “Moscow mechanism” that allows member nations to send experts to investigate charges of human rights abuses. Officials said the response in August by the Russian delegation to inquiries about the Chechen situation was unacceptable.
A statement released by the Iceland delegation on behalf of the Organization said that the evasiveness had “only deepened our concern that the Russian Federation is unwilling or unable to address the reports of serious human rights violations and abuse, which contribute to a climate of impunity for authorities in Chechnya.”
Michael Guest, senior adviser to the Council for Global Equality and a gay man, told the Washington Blade that, “I’d be surprised if Russia were to let a fact-finding mission into the country – and given the passage of time, finding concrete evidence may be a stretch.” But he said that the new investigation “keeps a spotlight on a tragedy that Russia would just as soon ignore.”
In other news, the city of Sydney has renamed the southwestern lawn of Prince Alfred Park “Equality Green” on the first anniversary of the lopsided vote of the Australian people to open civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples. More than 30,000 equality supporters gathered in that park on November 15th last year to hear the results of the controversial postal plebiscite.
In asking the City Council this week to “commemorate that momentous event,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore tweeted, “Love had won a landslide victory.” She soon announced that the Council had “enthusiastically and unanimously” approved her proposal.
After about 12-and-a-half million Australians cast their votes last year – that’s almost 80% of those eligible – more than 61 percent chose marriage equality. Parliament finally made it official in December.
Almost 84 percent of Sydney-siders voted for marriage equality in the postal plebiscite.
An estimated 130,000 people gathered in Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei for annual LGBT Pride festivities on October 27th. Last year at Asia’s largest such event, they were celebrating the self-governing island’s Constitutional Court ruling that gave lawmakers two years to open civil marriage to same-gender couples. Even though they have until 2019 to do that, the Legislative Yuan has signaled its inability to pass the necessary changes to the law, so activists on both sides have taken the matter into their own hands. Anti-equality forces struck first, qualifying petitions to put referenda on the ballot to block same-gender couples from civil marriage, and offering them less-than-equal civil unions. Pro-queer forces countered by then qualifying a marriage equality referendum.
So this year there was a mixture of anticipation and anxiety at the Taipei Pride celebration: Taiwan voters go to the polls on November 24th to consider those competing referenda both for and against marriage equality.
Referenda cannot overturn Constitutional Court rulings, but the government is required to propose laws that mirror referenda outcomes. So if a civil unions law were enacted instead of marriage equality, it’s likely that the issue would wind up back in Taiwan’s Constitutional Court.
And finally, from the U.S. “when will they ever learn?” file … far-right Iowa preacher Paul Dorr posted video on Facebook in mid-October of him burning queer-supportive children’s books outside the Orange City Public Library. He specifically checked out books that would be read during a Pride Week Drag Queen Story Time at the Library. Dorr heads an organization that claims to fight “against moral evil to advance the Kingdom of Christ.” Explaining in the video that he was doing what German church leaders should have done in 1933, Dorr said that, “You should all be ashamed of yourselves and repent.”
You can probably guess what happened next. The Orange City Public Library announced this week that they’d received more than 200 replacement books from donors – so many that they intend to stock the shelves of other nearby public libraries. Several GoFundMe pages and Facebook fundraisers have also raised thousands of dollars for the Library, and donations to Orange City Pride have increased, too. Considering that Dorr burned about 50 dollars worth of books, that’s quite a resounding rebuke.
A spokesperson for the Library told the Associated Press that it would deal with Dorr by following official policy for stolen or lost books. A certified letter with an itemized bill and a “notification of criminal action” is sent when a book is 60 days overdue. The library director can contact the police or county attorney if the borrower doesn’t respond.
Justin Scott, the Iowa state director for American Atheists, sponsored one of the larger online fundraisers. He said that the Library actually asked him to re-direct some of the donations to other libraries and queer youth organizations. The over-all response to the book burning, Scott said, is uniting Christians and atheists to show that they have “more in common than we think.”