United Nations human rights advocates call on Ghana’s Parliament to drop its proposed draconian anti-LGBTQ law, a law with roots in the surge of religious bigotry ten years ago.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson visits Hungary and praises the authoritarian, nationalist, homophobic regime of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
A Tale from Bachmann recalls a Republican firebrand who foreshadowed the rise of the party’s disturbing rising stars.
And in NewsWrap: Baja California, Mexico okays marriage equality, Taiwanese gay man wins right to marry Macanese partner, Guyana decriminalizes cross-dressing, Charlotte, North Carolina revives its queer protection ordinance, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Wenzel Jones and Wendy Natividad (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this and more on the August 16, 2021 edition of This Way Out!
Join our family of listener-donors today at thiswayout.org/donate/
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of August 16, 2021
Despotic Homophobes for Dummies
PROGRAM #1,742 DISTRIBUTED 08/16/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Marriage equality finally comes to the Mexican state of Baja California … the first queer bi-national couple legally marries by court order in Taiwan … lawmakers in Guyana repeal colonial-era laws against cross-dressing, which have been used to persecute trans-women … high profile Cameroonian trans-women Shakiro and Patricia are assaulted by a mob less than a month after they’re released on bail after spending five months behind bars on charges of “attempted homosexuality” … nine human rights groups from around the world unite to urge Uzbekistan, which still criminalizes same-gender sex, to stop using medically debunked “anal probes” to determine if a male “suspect” has had sex with another man … if the record number of LGBTQ competitors at the Tokyo Olympics were a country, “Team LGBTQ” would have ranked 11th in the medal count, ahead of Canada and Brazil … and five years after a similar ordinance sparked the state legislature to enact North Carolina’s notorious “bathroom bill”, the City Council of Charlotte unanimously passes a new ordinance to add LGBTQ people to local anti-discrimination laws [with brief comments by MAYOR VI LYLES] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by WENZEL JONES and WENDY NATIVIDAD, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature:Was it the sweet smell of authoritarianism that drew Fox News host Tucker Carlson to Hungary? For a full week of shows broadcast from Budapest, Hungary, the pundit with a penchant for pandemic misinformation and right-wing conspiracy theories gave a gleefully trains-run-on-time view of the repressive regime of Prime Minister Viktor Orban (with music from the Hungarian National Anthem).
Feature:Ghana’s proposed “Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values” bill has already received a sharp rebuke from U.N. human rights advocates. The bill would punish any expression of LGBTQ identity and allies of LGBTQ people.The drive toward official oppression of queer people has been simmering under the surface for a long time. Ten years ago this month, This Way Out’s GREG GORDON reported on a rise in anti-queer religious bigotry in Ghana.Free Speech Radio News anchor DANNY WOOD then learned more about the situation from researcher Charlotte Walker-Said of the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago (with music from the Ghanaian National Anthem).
Feature:Once upon a time in a U.S. Republican Party not so far away, outspoken women with wild ideas were the disturbing rising stars.We remember then-presidential wannabe Michele Bachmann in August 2011 (with intro music by FRANK IFIELD); today, the Republicans still give us Marjorie Taylor-Greene to keep us warm (with outro music by JON GILBERT-LEAVITT)
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending August 14, 2021 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Wenzel Jones and Wendy Natividad, produced by Brian DeShazor
Lesbian and gay couples in the Mexican state of Baja California can now get married without a court order. The state legislature removed a constitutional ban on equality in June. Of Baja’s five municipalities, the town councils of Tijuana, Mexicali and Tecate have now approved the change, triggering its publication in the Official State Journal on August 8th.
The Mexican Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in 2015, but left each of Mexico’s 31 states to implement the decision independently. Twenty states have opened civil marriage to queer couples since then – mostly by legislation.
Queer couples living in the other 11 Mexican states who wish to marry must still get a federal court injunction, an “amparo.” That’s a lengthy and often expensive process requiring a lawyer, even though federal judges cannot refuse to grant the amparo under the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
In the federal district of Mexico City, same-gender couples have been able to legally marry since 2010.
A gay Taiwanese-Macanese couple legally married in Taipei on August 13th, after fighting for two years to walk down the aisle. Twenty-nine-year-old Ting Tse-yen won his challenge to Taiwan’s landmark 2019 civil marriage law. It allowed queer couples to wed, but placed restrictions on Taiwan citizens marrying foreign partners — the foreign partner must be from a country that also embraces marriage equality. Ting’s 33-year-old spouse Leong Chin-fai is from Macau, which does not.
A court ruling in May cleared the way for their marriage, but it only applies to them. The newlywed couple has formed a group to help more than a hundred other Taiwanese queers marry their partners from non-marriage equality countries. Speaking to Agence France Presse, the couple’s attorney Victoria Hsu called it “discriminatory treatment because one’s partner comes from a certain country. … Can any heterosexual citizens accept if they are allowed to wed an American but not a Japanese?”
Hsu also advocates for the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights. That group has appealed to the government watchdog Control Yuan to fix the problem.
Guyana’s law making cross-dressing a crime was overturned on August 10th. The bill to remove provisions of the British colonial-era law was introduced in Parliament in June. It passed with the support of Attorney General Anil Nandlall. A misdemeanor offense that fined and sometimes jailed men who dressed in women’s clothing, the law was long used to harass transgender women. It required a court appearance and was usually punished with fines equivalent to 35 U.S. dollars.
A court in the South American country found four cross-dressers guilty of wearing female attire “for an improper purpose” in 2013 – insinuating their purpose to be fooling men into having sex.
The advocacy group Guyana Transgender Association challenged the decision in the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice. That yielded a ruling three years ago that found criminalizing cross-dressing to be unconstitutional. Quincy McEwan was one of the four people convicted in 2013. He told the Associated Press, “We were traumatized every time we prepared to go out as we [didn’t] know if we [were] going to be arrested and placed in the lockups.”
Guyana’s Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination continues to lobby lawmakers to repeal colonial-era laws criminalizing same-gender sex. The group held the country’s first-ever Pride parade in 2018.
Two Cameroonian trans women were violently pulled out of a taxi and back into the news this week. Popular social media personality and fashion expert Shakiro and her friend Patricia have been out on bail since mid-July pending an appeal of their “dining while trans” case. Shakiro told Human Rights Watch that a mob of men dragged them from the car during the early morning hours of August 8th in the seaside city of Douala. They were stripped naked and beaten for close to 30 minutes before police finally arrived. The assailants fled. Both victims required medical treatment.
Shakiro and Patricia were arrested in February at a Douala restaurant and sentenced to five years in prison each for dressing as women, failure to produce proper government identification, and “attempted homosexuality.”
Queer activists describe the viral video capturing this week’s attack as “horrific.” Shakiro said, “I was … hit everywhere on my body by several people. … I had to play dead – it was the only way to survive.”
The friends filed a police complaint against their attackers, but no one expects any official action.
Same-gender sex is illegal in the Western African nation, and anti-queer sentiment has been on the rise. Human Rights Watch reports that since Shakiro and Patricia were arrested in February, Cameroonian security forces have arbitrarily arrested, beaten, or threatened at least 24 people for alleged consensual homosexual conduct or gender nonconformity, including a 17-year-old boy. One person was tested for HIV and forced to undergo an anal examination, which is supposed to “prove” homosexual activity, but doesn’t.
Shakiro and Patricia’s appeal hearing is scheduled for September.
Forced anal examinations are also in the news this week in Uzbekistan, one of two former Soviet Union satellites that still criminalize private consensual adult same-gender sex. Nine global rights groups united on August 5th to urge Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to push for an immediate ban on the bogus practice. It’s widely agreed that anal exams do nothing to “prove” homosexual activity and, in fact, they amount to “torture.”
The impressive list of groups lobbying Mirziyoyev includes the Council for Global Equality, the Eurasian Coalition on Health, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity, Human Rights Watch, ILGA-Europe, the International Partnership for Human Rights, the London-based Human Dignity Trust, the U.S.-based Freedom Now and Human Rights Campaign, and Germany’s Lesbian and Gay Federation. Their call for action includes claims that at least six men have been subjected to forced anal examinations since 2017.
The Uzbek government is unlikely to heed the call. A draft measure to tighten the screws on same-gender sex in the Central Asian nation was leaked in April. It enhances Criminal Code provisions that already outlaw homosexuality, describing it as a crime “against family, children and morality.” An even more worrisome provision could make advocacy for LGBTQ rights illegal. It bans “disrespect for society, the state, state symbols (national and universal values)” and public protest “in violation of the established order.”
As the dust settles on the Tokyo Olympics, queer sports fans are gleefully counting the medals won by out and proud LGBTQ athletes. NBC News reports that “Team LGBTQ” grabbed a total of 32 medals. At least 182 out competitors from some 30 countries attended the Tokyo Games. The queer website Outsports says that’s triple the number who were at the Rio Games in 2016.
Pink News declared that if “Team LGBTQ” was a country, it would have placed eleventh in the medal count, just ahead of Canada and Brazil and behind France. Their 32 medalists took home 11 Gold, 12 Silver, and nine Bronze.
There were a number of queer “firsts” in Tokyo. You’ll find many heartwarming stories about individual competitors at Outsports.com.
Finally, five years later LGBTQ people will again be protected from discrimination in Charlotte, North Carolina. The City Council unanimously approved a measure on August 9th to add sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, familial status, veteran status, pregnancy, and natural hairstyle to the list of characteristics already protected by the city’s anti-discrimination laws. Most of the ordinance takes effect on October 1st. Specific workplace protections will come into force early next year.
A similar Charlotte ordinance in 2016 started the national “bathroom bill” firestorm and prompted the Republican-controlled state legislature and then-Governor Pat McCrory to deny trans people the right to use public facilities, like bathrooms and locker rooms, based on their gender identity. That measure also banned local jurisdictions from passing discrimination protections for queer people. Most parts of the state law were subsequently repealed, but local governments are still forbidden from regulating bathrooms and public changing facilities.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles told local NBC-TV affiliate WCNC:
[sound:] “When you look at the track record for this Council to have authentic debates about things that will make a difference in this community they have stepped up and done it in every way and I am really appreciative of that.”
For one local trans activist, after the turmoil five years ago the new ordinance is “a happy ending.”
© 2021 Overnight Productions (Inc.)
“Satisfying your weekly minimum requirement of queer news and culture for more than 30 years!”