Head librarian Michael Oliveira works to preserve LA’s ONE of a kind Archive (John Dyer V visits the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries).
Young “OutCasters” ponder electoral math and the future of queer rights (Andrew introduces Alex’ commentary).
And in NewsWrap: Bermuda files a final appeal to preserve inequality, Israel’s top court says a parent is a parent, assaulted LGBTQ refugees moved out of Kenyan camp, Brokeback Mountain and Bohemian Rhapsody mark milestones, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of December 17, 2018
ONE Way & Reps Wanted!
Program #1,603 distributed 12/17/18
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Bermuda’s government makes a final
Feature: Election season in the U.S. may have given way to the holidays, but
Feature: Preserving LGBTQ history paves the way to the future in important
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 December 15th, 2018 Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, reported this week by Monique Lukens and Christopher Gaal
Bermuda’s government has decided to “go to the mat” over marriage equality. It filed an appeal on December 13th with the U.K. Privy Council, the only remaining challenge it has left, to an original Supreme Court ruling in May 2017 opening civil marriage on the island to same-gender couples. Lawmakers overturned that decision by creating separate – but what they called “equal” – domestic partnerships that became law in February of this year.
The Supreme Court then struck that legislation down as unconstitutional discrimination four months later and reinstated marriage equality.
Carnival Cruises, an industry leader flying Bermuda’s flag, had to cancel several advance bookings for romantic weddings at sea for gay and lesbian couples after lawmakers re-banned marriage equality. They joined LGBTQ rights groups in the fight against inequality on the tourism-dependent island by offering financial as well as moral support.
Bermuda’s Court of Appeal, for which foreign judges are empanelled, upheld that second Supreme Court decision in a ruling issued on November 23rd. The U.K. Privy Council is the highest court of appeal for Bermuda and all other British Overseas Territories.
Bermuda’s government explained its rationale for the appeal in a statement that read, in part, “Constitutional issues are important issues and this Government wants to get it right.”
But local rights activist Tony Brannon told Reuters that, “This is a cynical, bigoted, hypocritical attack on the rights and freedoms of others. … Further waste of taxpayer dollars is obscene and repugnant.”
There’s been no word to date about whether or not the Privy Council would agree to even consider the appeal. If they do, it could be several months before a hearing is convened. Meanwhile, according to leading attorney Mark Pettingill, a longtime champion of marriage equality, same-gender couples can continue to legally wed on the island – or on cruise ships flying Bermuda’s flag – unless the Privy Council issues a stay of the Court of Appeal decision, which he doesn’t think will happen.
Analysts believe an eventual Council ruling for marriage equality, which most say is likely, could impact other British Overseas Territories which currently refuse to open the institution to same-gender couples.
A unanimous three-judge panel of Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled this week that both members of a same-gender couple who adopt children together must be listed as the parents on the child’s birth certificate. The case was brought by a gay male couple who had adopted a son together. Israel’s Interior Ministry refused to put both their names on the birth certificate, which meant that only one parent was legally able to make decisions involving their son.
Justice Neal Hendel wrote for the panel that the law “doesn’t permit us to limit ourselves to only one of his parents in the birth certificate,” adding that “it is unreasonable for the couple to be recognized as parents, but for the certificate not to give expression to that fact.”
According to the Ha’aretz newspaper, the ruling is expected to impact two pending cases: one brought by a lesbian couple seeking to have both their names on the birth certificate of one of the women’s biological child; and another filed by a transgender man seeking to be listed as the father rather than the mother on his child’s birth certificate.
A statement issued by the attorneys for the successful gay couple said that, “We’re happy that the court reminded the Interior Ministry of something that should have been self-evident: that parents are parents, no matter their sex, sexual orientation, or gender.”
LGBTQ refugees in Kenya’s sprawling Kakuma camp in the country’s northwestern Turkana county are being moved to safe houses in Nairobi after fellow refugees assaulted them – with local police officers joining in – as they held a peaceful march to the U.N. refugee agency on December 11th to demand better protection.
There have been several assaults against sexual and gender minorities in the camp since a few brave souls held a Pride event in June, and a number of queer refugees have had their shelters set on fire. According to Reuters, the camp houses at least 185,000 refugees from more than 10 countries. At least two-dozen queer refugees were viciously beaten during that December 11th march to the U.N., with some requiring hospitalization. Another was stabbed two days later.
A spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency said that, “the LGBTI refugees who were involved in these incidents would be better protected outside Kakuma. The necessary measures have been taken to facilitate their removal.” She said most of the other estimated 170 at-risk queer refugees would be moved by the end of the month.
With the major exception of South Africa, most countries on the African continent criminalize consensual adult gay sex. It’s punishable in Kenya by up to 14 years in prison. But that’s still not as bad as the climate in neighboring Uganda and Tanzania. The U.N. agency in Kenya says it’s registered more than 750 LGBTI refugees, many from those two countries.
Queer refugees in the Central American caravan who’ve reached the Mexican border town of Tijuana – Donald Trump calls it an “invasion” – are facing similar homophobic hostility.
Brazil’s far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro is showing his true colors. He was elected on an anti-corruption campaign – not coincidentally the number one concern of voters, according to many polls. But he’s surrounding himself with a similarly autocratic cabinet, many bringing corruption baggage with them. His Chief of Staff-designee confessed to getting kickbacks from one of the world’s largest meat processors, but was never prosecuted. His Vice Presidential running mate was linked to a public official convicted of tax evasion and looting public funds. Bolsonaro’s soon-to-be Secretary of the Economy is under 2 separate investigations for fraud, and his choice for Secretary of Health is being investigated for influence peddling, fraud, and bribery.
Bolsonaro proudly proclaimed his homophobia during the campaign, saying that he’d rather have a dead son than a gay son. He’s abolishing the human rights ministry, naming Damares Alves, an evangelical preacher, to head up a newly created ministry for women, family, human rights, and the country’s 900,000 indigenous people. She opposes a woman’s right to choose, and believes that women are born to be mothers, which has alarmed feminists. Bolsonaro’s intention to open the Amazon to commercial mining has also alarmed environmentalists and advocates for indigenous people. And LGBTQ activists fear that his administration will oppose any efforts to advance their rights, and pay only lip service to human rights in general.
In other news, the gay cowboy romantic tragedy Brokeback Mountain has been designated for preservation by the U.S. Library of Congress. Directed by Ang Lee, and starring Jake Gylenhaal and the late Heath Ledger, it won three Academy Awards: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score.
Each year the Library of Congress names 25 motion pictures to the National Film Registry that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films must be at least 10 years old. Brokeback Mountain, released in 2005, was selected this year, along with – among others – Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the cinematic version of My Fair Lady, and Jurassic Park. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film Rebecca was also added, which queer critics say hints at a homoerotic relationship between the characters of Mrs. Danvers and Rebecca that Hollywood censorship of the time prevented from being more apparent.
A statement issued by the Library of Congress said Brokeback Mountain is “haunting in its unsentimental depiction of longing, lonesomeness, pretense, sexual repression, and ultimately love.” At the time, Newsweek film critic David Ansen called it a “watershed in mainstream movies, the first gay love story with A-list Hollywood stars.”
And finally …
[“Is this the real life … is this just fantasy” :07]
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, fronted by bisexual lead singer Freddie Mercury, has been named the biggest hit of the 20th Century, based on more than 1.6 billion plays around the world on all major streaming services. Universal Music Group, which licenses all of Queen’s music outside North America, announced the singular accomplishment this week. CEO Sir Lucian Grainge called it “an incredible achievement that is a testament to the enduring brilliance of Queen.”
The momentous accomplishment was no doubt bolstered by the movie Bohemian Rhapsody featuring an Oscar-worthy performance by Remi Malek as Freddie, which in just 5 weeks became the biggest-grossing music biopic of all time.
The iconic song, first released in October 1975, gained renewed popularity when it was featured in the hit 1992 movie comedy Wayne’s World.
It was Queen’s first top 10 hit in the U.S., topped the U.K. charts for nine consecutive weeks, and is the only song in history to have reached Number One on the U.K. charts during two different year-ending holiday seasons.
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NewsWrap will take a vacation for the holidays as we air special year-end programs! Join us in celebrating the first anniversary of marriage equality in Australia, and what’s probably the biggest LGBTQ news story of 2018, the final judicial nail in the coffin of India’s odious colonial-era anti-gay sex law, Penal Code Section 377.
The next NewsWrap will be on the This Way Out show to be distributed on 7 January 2019 … meanwhile …