LGBTQ history is safe in the hands of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives!
Hollywood celebrates a rainbow of Golden Globe Awards with Ben Whishaw, Darren Criss, Brad Simpson, Rami Malek, and Graham King!
Chechnya continues its anti-queer purge, homophobic Dutch Christians issue an “unclean” manifesto, Israeli doctors are barred from “curing” same-gender attraction, a U.S. federal judge dresses down Drag Queen Story Hour plaintiffs, a biased Colorado baker adds a trans layer to his cake crimes, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of January 14, 2019
Rainbow Globes & All for ONE!
Program #1,607 distributed 01/14/19
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): There are new reports of a resurgent purge
Feature: Straight from the heart of Hollywood, this year’s Golden Globes
Feature: Michael Oliviera, head librarian at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian
Archives, chatted last month with This Way Out’s JOHN DYER V about early queer pioneers and preservationists, and how the Archives found a home at the University of Southern
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 January 12, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, and reported this week by John Dyer V and Carole Meyers
There were new accounts this week of a revived purge of gay people in Chechnya. They follow a scathing report issued in late December by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe confirming the routine harassment, “disappearances,” torture, and extrajudicial murders of sexual and gender minorities in the predominantly Muslim region of the Russian Federation that began in 2017.
Vladimir Putin has consistently said that his government’s “investigations” of Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, whose administration he supports, have found no evidence to support those charges. Kadyrov, who in speeches has called members of the LGBTQ community “satanic” and “not people,” has claimed that there are no gay people in Chechnya to persecute.
An “underground railway” of sorts has helped more than a hundred queer Chechens escape the area and seek asylum in Europe or Canada since the purges began.
One of Russia’s few truly independent news sources, Novaya Gazeta, which published detailed accounts of the crackdown early last year, is reporting that the renewed persecution of gay people in Chechnya began last month, though no one knows at this point how many more people have been detained. Some Novaya Gazeta reporters who first broke the news of the anti-queer crackdown last year have, themselves, been harassed and threatened by government authorities.
A post on social media to LGBTQ people by an activist group says that “We ask anyone still free to take this message seriously and leave the republic as soon as is possible.”
Mikhail Tumasov, Chairperson of the Russian LGBT Network, told Gay Star News that, “The persecution of gay people – both men and women in Chechnya – never stopped. … The scale and style of persecution has changed form at times, but … since late December, the security forces have increased their activity.” He said his organization would be releasing further details of the latest atrocities in the coming week.
The December 2018 report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, issued before the latest accounts surfaced, found that “several waves of violations of human rights and abuses of persons based on their sexual orientation and gender identity … could be confirmed.” It said that criminal charges should be filed outside of Chechnya because Kadyrov’s own “investigation” denies his administration’s culpability, and the region’s judiciary can’t be counted on to defy him – or Vladimir Putin.
Hundreds of Christian theologians, and two conservative members of the Dutch Parliament, have signed a manifesto condemning same-gender love as “unclean,” declaring that there’s no such thing as a transgender identity, and that marriage should be strictly heterosexual. It’s been described as the Dutch version of The Nashville Declaration, issued in the U.S. city by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in 2017. That document includes a preamble and 14 articles about human sexuality, and was signed by more than 22,000 people after about 150 Christian clerics issued it.
Kees van der Staaij of the lower house of Parliament and Senator Diederik van Dijk, each of the Christian-based Reformed Political Party, were the only 2 lawmakers to sign on to the Dutch version. Several other politicians strongly criticized them, one calling their actions “disgusting,” and another saying that the declaration represents “steps back in time.” Astrid Oosenbrug, who leads the country’s major queer advocacy group C.O.C., said the declaration is “a merciless and insensitive action by the signatories.” One Dutch news outlet noted that all of the signatories are men.
Lawmaker and former pastor Ruth Peetoom countered the document’s marriage stance on Twitter, saying that, “Where there is love and care for each other, there is God.”
The Israel Medical Association this week banned doctors from performing so-called “conversion therapy” to “cure” same-gender romantic attraction, or from referring patients to such practitioners. “There is a special danger,” the group’s statement said, “in referring children and teenagers to treatment meant to change one’s sexual orientation.” It went on to insist that, “there is no place for any treatment based on the assumption that homosexuality is a disease or a disorder that requires treatment.” It said, according to a “comprehensive review” of the positions of similar organizations, that “[such treatments] have been found to be ineffective and could cause mental damage, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies.”
Signing on to the report, issued January 7th, were the Israel Psychiatric Association, the Israeli Adolescent Medicine Society, the Israel Pediatric Association, the Society to Promote Health in the LGBT Community, the Israel Association of Family Physicians, and the Israel Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Association.
A recent exposé by Y-net news revealed an “underground” network of conversion therapy in Israel, primarily among conservative religious groups. That may have prompted this week’s statement. The Chairman of the Israel Psychiatric Association, Dr. Zvi Fishel, said that any member of his group who practices or refers a patient “to this kind of therapy [is] breaking the Association’s ethical code.”
In other news, a federal judge in Texas rejected a lawsuit filed by conservative Christians to stop a Drag Queen Story Hour from delighting children – and their parents – at a Houston public library. The nonprofit program bringing drag queens to libraries and bookstores to read to children took root in San Francisco a couple of years ago, and has blossomed in other cities across, and even outside of, the United States.
The group Christ Followers charged in the lawsuit filed in October that Drag Queen Story Hour promotes an “ideology [that] is immoral, obscene and subversive to human flourishing and … is inseparably linked to the religion of Secular Humanism.”
U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal announced on January 10th that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that they could be damaged in some way by the event. She also disputed the notion that secular humanism is a “religion,” or that drag queens had discussed it during any “Story Hour” event.
Tex Christopher, the lead plaintiff named in the lawsuit, told reporters that he planned to appeal the decision to the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
This time Phillips is fighting Autumn Scardina, a Colorado attorney. She wanted to mark the anniversary of her male-to-female transition with a celebratory cake that was pink on the inside and blue on the outside. Phillips refused to make the cake because he said doing so would violate his faith. She filed a claim with the state Civil Rights Commission charging that Phillips had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a far-right conservative Christian legal group, represents Phillips, as it did in last year’s Supreme Court case. It insists that he has the right to refuse to ”create custom cakes that express messages that conflict with his deeply held beliefs.” The lawsuit that can now move forward seeks an injunction to prevent the Colorado Civil Rights Commission from considering Scardina’s complaint against Phillips.
And finally, in better news from Colorado, the Courthouse in the city of Boulder has been added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Clela Rorex, who was the Boulder County Clerk in 1975, issued a marriage license to a gay couple after being advised by the local district attorney that state law didn’t forbid it. Word quickly spread, and she wound up issuing licenses to five more queer couples before Colorado’s Attorney General issued a cease and desist order.
A plaque was unveiled at the Courthouse on January 4th to commemorate the Historic Places designation. The only other LGBTQ venues on the Register are the Stonewall Inn in New York City, and the Washington, D.C. home of trailblazing gay activist Franklin Kameny.
Now 75-year-old Clela Rorex was at the ceremony. She said that in 1975 she was fighting for equality as a woman. “How could I deny someone else?” she said. An official Boulder County video documenting the unveiling ceremony and the story behind it was posted to YouTube, during which Rorex explains that,
[:15 sound:] “It was a reminder that this action in 1975, as long ago as that was, still held out a moment of history for the LGBTQ community to be proud of.”
The times they are, indeed, a-changing. Also at the January 4th ceremony: Colorado Governor-elect Jared Polis, who was inaugurated a few days later as America’s first openly gay governor.
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