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This Way Out Radio Ep.# 1767: Banning Queer Books and LGBTQ Students!

The mayor of Ridgeland, Mississippi decides on his own for religious reasons not to release approved funding for the county library until it removes LGBTQ-related books, but other local officials and the community are up in arms!

A Christian primary-secondary school in Brisbane is forced to withdraw an enrollment contract sent to parents that called homosexuality “sinful” and required students to be admitted on the basis of their “biological sex.”

Excerpts from her historic keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention illustrate a “Rainbow Minute” biography of U.S. Representative Barbara Jordan (read by Candace Gingrich, produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns).

And in NewsWrap: Ghanaian Anglican Bishops reverse support for anti-LGBTQ bill, Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Lokodo dies, Iran hangs two men for same-gender sex, Hungarian court okays newspaper’s pedophilia smear against lesbian group, South Dakota Republicans boot trans kids from sports, and elementary school pulls child’s “Gay Is OK” artwork citing Nazi flag parallel, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and Marcos Najera (produced by Brian DeShazor).

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of February 7, 2022

Banning Queer Books and LGBTQ Students!

Program #1,767 distributed 02/07/22
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Ghana’s Anglican Bishops condemn the proposed “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill” as “too severe” after previously supporting it … Simon Lokodo, the government official infamously known as the sponsor of Uganda’s “Kill The Gays Bill” has, himself, died … two gay men were hanged in Iran this week for “forced sexual intercourse between two men” after languishing on death row for six years … a Budapest court boosts the re-election campaign of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban by ruling that echoing him in a pro-government daily newspaper equating homosexuality with pedophilia was okay because it was “scientifically” based … South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem signs a bill banning transgender athletes from school sports after her Chief of Staff Mark Miller promotes its passage in the House by somehow managing to equate trans people with terrorists [we share the audio evidence] … and a student’s drawing in an Athens, Georgia elementary school art exhibit adorned in rainbow Pride flag colors and saying “Gay Is OK” is taken down after a parent complains and a school official compares it to hanging a Nazi flag [with comments to local TV station WXIA by a parent with a child in the school Jemelleh Coes, who’s also a professor at the University of Georgia] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOE BOEHNLEIN and SARAH MONTAGUE, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).

Feature: This Rainbow Minute celebrates Barbara Jordan, Stateswoman And Orator (read by CANDACE GINGRICH and produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS, bookended by TWO-added excerpts from her historic 1976 Keynote Speech at the DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION in Chicago).

Feature: Books are flying off the shelves at public and school libraries across the U.S., but conservative forces are carrying them to the fire pit, not the reading room. As always, queer-related literature ranks high on banned books lists — whether by official policy or by more vigilante-style means. It’s a combination of both in Ridgeland, Mississippi over “Christian” Mayor Gene McGee’s refusal to provide authorized funding to local libraries until staff remove all queer-related material (with comments by Madison County Library System Executive Director Tonja Johnson; Executive Director of Capital City Pride Jason McCarty; and local resident and mother of two children Maggie Bonds on local WBLT-TV; with intro music by BETWEEN THE LIONS and outro music by THE MONOTONES).

Feature: Back to school excitement has taken a backseat to controversy for the young students at Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College. The homophobic hullabaloo in Queensland over parents and teachers being told to sign a contract rejecting LGBTQ staff and students drew a national spotlight this week (with comments via NETWORK 10’s The Project and the ABC by Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace, school parent and just-resigned teacher Helen Clapham-Burns, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Citipointe Principal Brian Mulheran’s video message to parents; and former student Felicity Myers; with intro/outro music by THE KINGDOM CHOIR).



A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending February 5, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Joe Boehnlein and Sarah Montague,
produced by Brian DeShazor

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Ghana is denouncing the draft “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill” currently being debated in Parliament. In an unexpected reversal of their previous position in support of the bill, the Bishops now say it is too “severe and must be reviewed.”

Some reports indicate that Ghanaian Archbishop Dr. Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith’s January 28th statement was sparked by an online meeting in November with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the titular head of the denomination.

The statement first stressed that, “LGBTQI+ activities are frowned upon by the Ghanaian ethnicity and therefore, traditions, values, cultural and social frameworks must [be] respected and appreciated.” However it continues, “Nevertheless, Ghanaian citizens must not use the bill as an avenue to assault persons with homosexual orientation but show love to them as the Church of Jesus Christ … Acts of harassment, intimidation and hostilities against LGBTQ+ people should be condemned.”

The western African nation’s penal code already punishes private consensual adult same-gender sex with up to three years in prison. The new proposal adds at least two years to that sentence, and punishes anyone who even advocates for LGBTQ rights with up to 10 years in prison. The Bishops’ statement suggests “a transformational agenda” instead of those harsher penalties – that could mean support for the torturous and medically debunked practice of “conversion therapy.”

The author and primary promoter of Uganda’s infamous “Kill The Gays Bill” is dead. Former Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo passed away suddenly at a Geneva hospital on January 28th. Ironically he was in the Swiss city for a U.N. meeting as a member of Uganda’s Human Rights Commission.

Same-gender sex has been outlawed in the East African nation since colonial days. Lokodo’s mean-spirited measure punished “repeat offenders” of consensual adult same-gender sex with the death penalty. A watered-down version eventually passed in Parliament, but was overturned in court.

Sexual Minorities Uganda Executive Director Frank Mugisha told the Washington Blade via email, “I do not have any ill words for Lokodo.” The veteran activist added, “However, I can say that it’s unfortunate that he spent his time as a government official persecuting and promoting hate against marginalized communities.”

Lokodo was an ordained Catholic priest, under suspension during his time in political office. That did not keep him from preaching plenty of hell and damnation mixed with his policies. Out British actor, broadcaster and Renaissance man Stephen Fry revealed in a 2013 documentary that interviewing Lokodo prompted him to attempt suicide.

Two gay men have been executed in Iran for the crime of “forced sexual intercourse between two men” – this according to the non-governmental Human Rights Activists News Agency. Mehrdad Karimpour and Farid Mohammadi spent six years on death row before they were hanged on January 27th in a prison in the northwestern city of Maragheh. The rights group said that two other men were executed there for the same “offense” last July.

Under strict Islamic law in Iran, consensual adult gay male sex is punishable with the death penalty, like murder, armed robbery, rape, and adultery. Women convicted of same gender sex are whipped.

When Iranian gay Ali Fazeli Monfared was reportedly kidnapped and beheaded by family members in an “honor killing” last May, the U.S. State Department condemned his murder. Twitter activists are asking where the outrage is for the state executions of Karimpour and Mohammadi.

Equating your lesbian organization with pedophiles does not hurt your group’s reputation, does it? That’s how a Hungarian court saw it in a February 1st decision supporting an article in a pro-government daily newspaper.

The Budapest Metropolitan Court of Appeals overruled the November decision by a lower court that called the article about the decades-old publisher Labrisz Lesbian Association “unjustifiably offensive, devastating, unfounded opinion,” according to EuroObserver.

The appeals court decided that the article in question merely provided “scientific evidence” to back up Prime Minister Viktor Orbán‘s previous comments connecting homosexuality and pedophilia.

The ruling comes right on time for Orbán, as he escalates efforts to stoke homophobia ahead of Hungary’s national elections on April 3rd. It’s his most serious re-election challenge since winning office in 2010. He’s even scheduled a referendum on queer rights that same day. Voters will be asked five highly inflammatory questions -- questions like whether they support “sexual orientation workshops” in schools, and if they favor gender reassignment surgery for children.

South Dakota is Number 1 -- the first Republican-led U.S. state to pass a trans sports ban in 2022. Governor Kristi Noem signed a bill this week that says, “only female athletes, based on their biological sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls.”

Noem’s Chief of Staff Mark Miller made headlines across the country when he spoke to a House committee about the bill with a way over-the-top comparison:

[sound:] “We are seeing cases, and I think the … the proponents have given many examples, where this is happening all over the country, including our surrounding states. And by putting it in law, we are ensuring that what we're seeing all over the country does not happen in South Dakota. It's sort of like terrorism: you want to keep it over there, not let it get to here.”

South Dakota joins almost a dozen other U.S. states that already have similar laws. A second anti-trans youth bill was approved in the South Dakota House this week and is headed to the state Senate. It would force trans students to use campus restrooms and locker rooms based on their gender assigned at birth, rather than their gender identity.

The Republican attacks on transgender young people continue unabated. This week, Arizona’s Senate passed and sent to the state House a bill that also bans trans youth from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity.

Finally, when is a rainbow like a swastika? When a child’s drawing of an umbrella with the words “Gay Is OK” and vertical rainbow Pride flag colors becomes part of a student art exhibit. School officials at Athens, Georgia’s Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School forced the removal of the drawing this week.

An administrator claimed that a parent’s complaint forced the decision to take the picture down. When local reporters asked for specifics, the official said that exhibiting the drawing was comparable to hanging a Nazi flag – that’s what other parents whose children attend Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary told local TV station WXIA.

Parents like Jemelleh Coes say this is but the latest example in a pattern of bias at the school. Coes is also a professor at the University of Georgia. She told WXIA:

[sound:] “There [are] ongoing complaints about this current administration having … being discriminatory against women, being discriminatory against LGBTQ people, being discriminatory against English language learners or emerging bilinguals, emerging multi-linguals and Spanish speakers. So, we have seen a pattern of inequity at our school and we have been asking for support for, at this point, years.”

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