The tragicomic Have You Seen This Man: The Castro Poems of Karl Tierney turns pages!
An Outcasting Overtime non-binary student meets the gender-conforming world!
Hissing and purring with guilty pleasure over Cats the movie!
Gay U.K. serial rapist case sparks Indonesian crackdown, 15 “suspected gays” nabbed at Nigerian graduation party, Tel Aviv students school Israel’s Education Minister, Trump-appointed judge denies trans defendant’s identity, Tennessee lawmakers okay religious bias in adoption services, NBA Warriors chief weds longtime boyfriend, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of January 20, 2020
Poetry, Pronouns and Purr-ity!
Program #1,660 distributed 01/20/20
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): A homophobic crackdown in parts of
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending January 18, 2020 Written by Greg Gordon, reported this week by Christopher Gaal and Michael Taylor Gray,produced by Brian DeShazor
An Indonesian graduate student’s conviction in the U.K. for drugging and raping dozens of mostly heterosexual men has fomented an anti-queer crackdown in his homeland. Mohammad Idris, the Mayor of the West Java city of Depok, is calling for increased efforts to stop what he called the “spread of LGBT … in the name of social, moral and religious teachings.” He said he would establish “rehabilitation centers” for LGBTQ people to help them live “a normal life.” Activists have expressed fears of having their homes raided by so-called religious police.
The family of convicted rapist Raynhard Sinaga lives in Depok. They’ve apparently been paying all of their now 36-year-old son’s expenses since he began studying in the U.K. as an international student more than a dozen years ago. But Sinaga spent much more time luring intoxicated young men outside bars in central Manchester to his nearby flat, where he spiked their drinks with sedatives and then filmed himself raping them, in many cases for hours. He was found guilty of 136 counts of raping 48 men, but authorities believe the number of his victims is much larger, and called him “the most prolific rapist in British legal history.” Most victims, prosecutors say, didn’t know what had happened to them when they woke up in Sinaga’s bed. They thought he had been a “Good Samaritan” and had rescued them from a drunken stupor. Sinaga’s sexual assaults were only discovered after one victim woke up in mid-rape, fought him off, and contacted the police.
Sinaga claimed that each of his victims was participating in fantasy sex play where they played dead while he raped them.
Some critics are calling Sinaga’s 30-year-sentence “unduly lenient,” and are demanding what’s called a “whole life order” — life in prison without the possibility of ever being released. Sinaga’s notoriety has spread across mostly-Muslim Indonesia, but queer activists say that the media has focused on his sexual orientation rather than the rape cases themselves. Veteran activist Dede Oetomo said that the widely reported case has created homophobic “hysteria.”
In addition to the inflammatory comments and actions of Depok Mayor Idris, at least four guesthouses on the Indonesian island of Bali are being investigated for “marketing themselves specifically for the gay community.” One has already shut down. Bali is a favorite tourist destination. More than a million Australians alone visit Bali every year.
Jakarta-based activist Lini Zurlia said that many others are being harassed online for the rapist being “part of my circle … as if being gay is to ‘be like Sinaga’.”
Consensual adult same-gender sex is not illegal in the East Asian nation, except in Islamic law-governed Aceh province, where several people charged with that “crime” have been whipped in the public square. But societal prejudice throughout the multi-island nation is widespread.
Amnesty International and other global human rights groups have condemned the mushrooming homophobia.
A statement issued by a coalition of 16 LGBTIQ groups in Indonesia sharply criticized the fact that Sinaga and his infamous crimes are being used to incite anti-queer hatred. “Sexual violence can be committed by and to anyone,” the statement pointed out, “regardless of class, level of education, religion, age, sex and sexual orientation.”
In the West African nation of Nigeria, fifteen people, mostly college age, were arrested by Hisbah, religious police enforcing Sharia, or Islamic law, at a party in northern Nigeria’s Bayero University Kano on January 9th.
Many of the detainees were celebrating their graduation. The Nigerian news outlet Punch reported that “the suspected gays” would be sent to a “correctional center” where, said Hisbah Board member Shehu Is’haq, they “will be re-oriented and, at the close of the day, they will desist from they waywardness and turn a new leaf.” Punch reported that more than 35 other people at the party escaped capture.
Nigeria is one of Arica’s most populous nations and is generally governed in the northern part of the country by Islamic law, while Christianity is the predominant religion in most parts of the south. But same-gender sex is against the law, and the Pew Research Center recently reported that 98 out of 100 Nigerians believe that society can never accept homosexuality.
A Gay Travel Index on Wikipedia of preferred tourist spots rated Canada first, and Nigeria 139th, just below Malaysia, naming it the most dangerous destinations on the planet for queer travellers. Hisbah’s Director General said in 2018, according to the UK’s Pink News, that, “We can’t allow such despicable acts to find roots in our society. Both Islam and Nigerian laws prohibit same-sex relationships.”
Thousands of students hit the streets of Tel Aviv this week to protest the homophobic statements of Israel’s Education Minister Rafi Peretz. The head of the right-wing Jewish Home Party was asked during an interview how he would react if one of his children came out to him as gay. “Thank God my kids grew up naturally and healthy,” he said. “They’re building their families from Jewish values.” He said later that “A normal family is a man and a woman,” and that he was “not ashamed that we live in this natural way.”
One of the young student protest organizers, 16-year-old Hila Koren, told The Times of Israel that political leaders should respect diversity. “They can’t come along and say what is normal, they can’t come and trample entire communities, people with feelings and thoughts.”
The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that several school administrators, with the support of Tel Aviv school officials and the mayor, began the day following the widely-reported remarks with 15 minutes of discussion centered around “tolerance, living together, and variations on the concept of family.”
Openly gay Likud Party Justice Minister Amir Ohana called Peretz’s comments “reprehensible, backwards, and wrong.” “Out” Labour Party lawmaker Itzik Shmuli posted a picture of himself with his male spouse and son and wrote, “This is what a ‘natural and healthy’ family looks like.”
When President Donald Trump picked Stuart Kyle Duncan to sit on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals two years ago, queer legal advocates warned that the since-confirmed nominee would not be fair in his rulings on LGBTQ-related cases.
Their concern was validated on January 16th when Duncan rejected transgender defendant’s Kathrine Nicole Jett’s request that her chosen name and proper pronouns be used in all court documents. Duncan repeatedly dead-named her as “Norman” Jett, and wrote that, “no authority supports the proposition that we may require litigants, judges, court personnel, or anyone else to refer to gender-dysphoric litigants with pronouns matching their subjective gender identity.”
It comes as no surprise that in his earlier legal career, Duncan represented the Gloucester County, Virginia School Board in its case against trailblazing transgender student Gavin Grimm. Trans-man Grimm eventually won the right to use the men’s bathroom on campus after he had already graduated.
ACLU trans-man legal eagle Chase Strangio hopes the full 5th Circuit Court will overturn the ruling for a number of reasons, including the fact the it is “way outside the bounds of what federal courts generally do.”
The Republican-led Tennessee state legislature has approved a bill to allow licensed adoption agencies to reject the placement of any child with an LGBTQ family if it would “violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.” It passed the Republican-controlled lower house last year, and passed in the state Senate this week. Republican Governor Bill Lee announced on January 14th that he would be signing the bill into law. A single Republican state Senator, Steve Dickerson, joined the chamber’s five Democrats in opposition, saying that he expected the bill’s passage would cause the waiting list of children needing adoption to “increase somewhat.”
Tennessee follows several other states in banning queer families from adopting children. They include Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. West Virginia is currently considering similar legislation, and the Trump administration is pushing a similar law at the federal level.
Finally, the U.S. National Basketball Association has witnessed its first wedding of a high profile gay man. Rick Welts came out shortly before leaving his post as president of the Phoenix Suns. He left the Suns to move to northern California to be with his boyfriend Todd Gage. He was eventually hired as president and C.O.O. of the San Francisco-based Golden State Warriors. Since he began his tenure there in 2011, the Warriors have won three national championships and made five NBA Finals appearances. When he came out, Welts also revealed that he had lost his first long-term partner to AIDS-related complications in 1994.
Welts is one of the very few “out” executive in U.S. professional sports. He was said to have spearheaded the decision by the NBA to move its All Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina in 2016 because of the state’s anti-transgender “bathroom bill” HB2.
Todd Gage and Rick Welts made themselves “legal” as a couple on January 10th in an official wedding ceremony at San Francisco City Hall officiated by Mayor London Breed.
The NBA exec tweeted that “It was a good day, nine years in the making!”
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