A teacher-activist grades Australia’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill!
Queer Life and Lit commentator Janet Mason reads gender optimism in Juno’s Swans!
Pride rises from the picket line in a Rainbow Minute!
A record Taiwan Pride crowd celebrates marriage equality, the U.S. allows religious bias in health services and adoptions, Bogota’s new lesbian mayor becomes Colombia’s #2, Scottish activists grill Chick-fil-A’s record of homophobic hate, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of November 4, 2019
Juno’s Swans & Moira’s Stand
Program #1,649 distributed 11/04/19
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): A record-breaking crowd of more than
Feature: There’s a backlash against the advances for LGBTQ rights around
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending November 2, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Laura Dickinson-Turner and Wenzel Jones,produced by Brian DeShazor
The streets of Taipei filled with a record-breaking crowd for Taiwan’s 17th annual LGBTQ Pride Parade. It’s estimated that more than 200,000 celebrants turned out on October 26th – that’s far more than last year’s 130,000. The advent of marriage equality probably bolstered the attendance. In May Taiwan’s government became the first in Asia to open civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples. There are drawbacks, however. The new laws created a separate category for same-gender couples. They also don’t include provisions for transnational marriages or adoption.
Nevertheless, the Ministry of the Interior reports that more than 2100 marriages of same-gender couples have been registered in Taiwan through the month of September. Lesbian couples outnumbered gay male couples by more than 2-to-1.
The South China Morning Post counted parade contingents from more than 220 groups that came from around the world. Add to that some 30 local and multinational companies. Delegations from Australia, the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and the U.S. joined the colorful three-and-a-half-mile procession.
Thousands waved rainbow flags. Over-the-top floats delighted onlookers, as did a wide array of drag queens, of course. Some dressed as Pikachu and other cosplay characters. The Morning Post described “young men wearing nothing more than the skimpiest of shorts.”
The parade’s theme was “Together, Make Taiwan Better.” Banners and posters stressed that voting in the presidential election would further solidify the rights that have been gained. Other banners expressed support for the pro-democracy street protests in Hong Kong.
Days of demonstrations erupted in Panama City this week. LGBTQ people have been in the streets with students, labor unions, and other progressive groups.
The LGBTQ protesters are there specifically because of proposed constitutional revisions in the Central American country. The changes have already cleared a first vote in the National Assembly. One provision constitutionally defines marriage as for heterosexuals only – a clear violation of an Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling. It’s November 2017 order required the civil institution of marriage to be open to queer couples throughout the region – and that includes Panama. Panama’s constitution specifically states that its provisions cannot contradict the American Convention on Human Rights. That Convention was the basis for the Inter-American Court’s marriage equality ruling.
Dozens of mostly young protesters have already been arrested. Police were pelted with rocks and bottles during some of the frequent scuffles. Protesters were dispersed with tear gas. A few demonstrators broke windows at the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party.
While all of that was happening in the streets, Panamanian National Assembly Deputy Jairo Salazar Ramirez was making his own headlines. Protesters including LGBTQ activists tried to enter the Legislative Palace. Ramirez was caught on camera saying, “We already said no to gay marriage … we will not let them in.” A reporter challenged him, saying, “They are Panamanians.” Ramirez replied, “No, they are gay and they cannot come in.” Those remarks were quickly denounced in a statement from Ramirez’ own Democratic Revolutionary Party.
A few days earlier Ramirez had bragged that a large group of evangelicals he met with was “very pleased with us” for defending the hetero-only marriage statute.
He assured his Facebook followers that he is not homophobic. He claims that his comments were taken out of context.
Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo indicated that he and the panel working on the draft would be open to changes. Some provisions may be eliminated. According to the news outlet La Prensa, it’s thought that Cortizo was referencing the article that defines civil marriage as “between a man and a woman.” However, the president did not specifically say that.
The proposed constitutional revisions require a second passage in the National Assembly, and then approval in a voter referendum.
At least two marriage equality cases have languished without resolution in Panama’s Supreme Court of Justice.
U.S. President Donald Trump continues to roll back virtually every progressive LGBTQ rights advance made under the Obama administration. On November 1st the blow came from the Department of Health and Human Services – or H.H.S. A new rule allows H.H.S.-funded adoption and foster-parenting agencies to reject applications from same-gender couples on the basis of religious freedom. Other programs affected by the change include Head Start, refugee resettlement, HIV services, and programs for seniors and homeless youth. Mara Keisling [KEES-lihng] of the National Center for Transgender Equality warned that the new rules would also allow healthcare providers to use religion to justify discrimination against transgender patients.
Federally funded agencies were forbidden from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity under the Obama-era policy. A statement from Trump’s H.H.S. argues that it’s important to nullify that policy because it “imposed regulatory burden and created a lack of predictability and stability for the department and stakeholders with respect to these provisions’ viability and enforcement.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the far-right Family Research Council are applauding the new rules.
LGBTQ rights groups are unanimous in their condemnation.
Julie Kruse is the director of federal policy at Family Equality. In her words, “It is outrageous that the Trump administration would mark the start of National Adoption Month by announcing a rule to further limit the pool of loving homes available to America’s 440,000 foster children.”
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David called it, “… unconscionable that the Trump-Pence administration would prioritize advancing discrimination over the wellbeing of vulnerable people and expect taxpayers to foot the bill for their discriminatory policies.”
The new rules are subject to public comment for 30 days after they are officially published in the Federal Register. However the H.H.S. announcement states that the Obama-era anti-discrimination protections are already not being enforced.
Here’s a first for Latin America. An out lesbian has become mayor of a major city. Leftist former Senator Claudia López won election in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá. López promises to combat corruption and advance the rights of minorities. She also wants to put more cops on the streets, end child labor, and create better educational opportunities for people over the age of 45.
López is also Bogotá’s first female chief executive.
The power of the capital’s mayor is widely considered to be second only to that of Colombia’s President. Iván Duque Márquez holds that office now. He’s a protégé of former President Alvaro Uribe, a man Lopez once described as “a leech running to the sewer.” Márquez’ cool congratulations said simply, “For the good of Bogotá and that of all its citizens, I wish Claudia López the best in her management as mayor.”
The 49-year-old former journalist has been a fierce enemy of corruption and a climate change combatant.
López’ partner is bisexual Senator Angélica Lozano Correa. They were photographed kissing following the announcement of her win.
Bogotá’s mayor-elect told her jubilant victory party “This is the day of the woman. We united, we won, and we made history!”
In queerly related news, the son of Argentina’s president-elect Alberto Fernàndez is a rising star in the country’s drag scene. 24-year-old Estanislao goes by the stage name Dyhzy. He’s already a famous figure in the Buenos Aires queer community. According to press reports, Estanislao works at an insurance company by day, takes classes in design, and lives with his girlfriend.
In a radio interview the president-elect described his son as “one of the most creative persons in my life. … In that world, which I don’t know much about, [he] seems to be respected and very recognized.” The elder Fernàndez went on to say, “I feel proud for my son. My son is a rights activist in that community. He is a great man.”
Alberto Fernàndez is a relative newcomer to politics. The center-left president-elect ousted conservative incumbent Mauricio Macri. According to the BBC, Fernàndez inherits an economic crisis that has left a third of Argentina’s population in poverty.
Finally, here’s the latest salvo in what Pink News calls “an all-out war against fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.” The Scottish LGBTQ group Highland Pride is entering the fray.
Protests at the company’s first U.K. outlet in England pushed its landlord to decide against renewing the franchisee’s provisional six-month lease. Then the chicken sandwich-maker quietly opened an outlet at the Macdonald Aviemore Resort in the Scottish Highlands with little notice.
Until now. Highland Pride sent a sharply worded letter to parent company Macdonald Hotels condemning their hosting an eatery with an “atrocious anti-LGBTQ track record.” The Atlanta-based fast food chain has a well-documented history of giving millions of dollars to anti-queer groups and programs.
The letter goes on to ask if Macdonald management was aware of Chick-fil-A’s notorious homophobia before they agreed to lease space to them. At last report, the hotelier has yet to respond.
An online petition demanding that the Chick-fil-A at the Aviemore Resort be shuttered is also gathering steam. It reads in part, “Scotland is a progressive, welcoming and inclusive country, and businesses in the Highlands should be, too.”
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