Family tragedy and his son’s non-conformity inform Australian M.P. Stephen Jones’ moving speech as P.M. Scott Morrison’s “Religious Discrimination Bill” is debated.
The recent death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu gets the youth commentators of OutCasting Overtime about the true meaning of being an activist (“OutCaster” Tim, produced by Marc Sophos).
And in NewsWrap: Poland "protects" students with anti-queer curriculum cops, Florida advances "Don't Say Gay" with Tennessee right behind, U.S. Senate confirms first lesbian of color to ambassador-level job, Cardinal Hollerith calls for Roman Catholic Church change on homosexuality, Indian officials want to get the "GAY" out of Gaya, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Wendy Natividad and John Dyer V (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of February 14, 2022
AUS MP Fights Religious Bias & Activism Inspiration!
Program #1,768 distributed 02/14/22
Hosted this week By Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Polish lawmakers approve a “no promo homo in schools” bill … the schools-censoring “Don’t Say Gay Bill” in the U.S. state of Florida appears headed for almost certain passage [with excerpts from Senate committee debate pitting Democrat Tina Polsky against Republican Senate sponsor Dennis Baxley, from students speaking at a rally against the measure, brief comments about the bill by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and teacher and mother of a trans student Anita Hatcher] … a similar “Don’t Say Gay Bill” is being reintroduced in the Tennessee legislature, but anti-trans students bills die in South Dakota and Virginia … the U.S. Senate confirms Chantale Wong as U.S. Director of the Asian Development Bank in a rare bipartisan vote, making her the first out lesbian and person of color to hold an ambassador-level post in the federal government … Luxembourg Roman Catholic Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich causes a bit of a stir by calling for “a fundamental revision of the doctrine” and declares that private consensual adult same-gender sex should no longer be considered sinful … conservative Indian lawmakers turn their attention to an issue of utmost urgency: changing the International Air Transport Association’s “embarrassing” designation of GAY for the airport in the holy city of Gaya (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by WENDY NATIVIDAD and JOHN DYER V, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Could you live up to the example of someone like Archbishop Desmond Tutu? Tutu’s recent passing got members of the queer and allied youth broadcasters from OutCasting Overtime thinking (“OutCaster” TIM’s commentary was produced by MARC SOPHOS, with TWO-added intro music by THE RASCALS and DESMOND TUTU’s spoken word last line from the quote Tim reads).
Feature: Campaigns that attempt to pit LGBTQ rights against so-called religious freedom are thriving in many First World countries — as much as in parts of the world typically characterized as radically fundamentalist. However Australia’s “Religious Discrimination Bill” appears to now be on life-support. The measure that would allow religious exemptions to anti-bias protections had been one of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s biggest campaign promises. It came to the House of Representatives on February 10th for a grueling debate that went on until dawn the next day. Labor M.P. Stephen Jones offered a personal illustration of the harm such laws can do to the most vulnerable (with intro/outro music by SHANIA TWAIN).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending February 12, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Wendy Natividad and John Dyer V,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Polish lawmakers say they’re just “protecting children,” but critics say the bill they passed this week will make it virtually impossible for teachers to include discussions about LGBTQ people in their classrooms. The measure gives government-appointed “supervisors” control over school curriculum. They would have the authority to approve or reject programs by non-governmental organizations, and to fire teachers and school principals who don’t fall in line.
The legislation is part of the ruling far-right Law and Justice Party’s ongoing campaign to “Christianize” Polish institutions. President Andrzej Duda is expected to sign it into law.
Justyna Nakielska works for the Polish LGBTQ rights group Kampania Przeciw Homofobii. She told Pink News, “Young people will be punished for tolerance, openness to diversity, critical thinking and independence. … [LGBTQ] youth will feel less and less safe in schools.”
A measure equality advocates are calling the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” now seems certain to become law in the U.S. state of Florida. It was approved in the state Senate Education Committee along party lines on February 8th, having already passed in the House. It would prevent teachers in “Sunshine State” schools “from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels.” Its restrictions apply to any level if the discussion is “not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” School officials would be pressured to “out” LGBTQ students to their parents – parents armed with the power to sue schools if any of the bill’s provisions are violated.
Republican Senator and Baptist funeral director Dennis Baxley sponsored the bill, and was challenged during the hearing by Democrats like Senator Tina Polsky:
[SOUND:] “Mrs. Fish, why does Johnny have two mommies? What is the teacher supposed to say?”
[SOUND:] “Well, again, I think you should talk … some discussions are for … with your parents. And I think when you start opening sectional … sexual type discussions with children, you're entering a very dangerous zone and your awareness should pop up right away. This isn't teaching.”
At rallies against the bill across Florida, students are speaking for themselves:
[SOUND:] “I think with this bill, it's just another way for them to silence us. And we have been silent for so long.”
[SOUND] “We are fighting for the opportunity to go to school and feel safe and feel protected.”
Governor Ron DeSantis is hinting his support for the bill in harmony with his hints about running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. He told a Miami press conference this week that “in some schools, children are advised, ‘Don’t worry, don’t pick your gender yet.’”
[SOUND:] “Let's get parents involved. Let's make sure anything that's discussed is age appropriate.”
Teacher and parent of a transgender student Anita Hatcher begs to differ:
[SOUND:] “When you reassert parental authority, sometimes you get the parental authority of my child's father, who told him it would be better if he took his own life.”
The White House is warning that the Florida bill is no “isolated action.” A spokesperson delivered a statement on February 8th saying, “Across the country, we're seeing Republican leaders take action to try and regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be."
Tennessee’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill has been “born again” after being aborted a decade ago. It’s sponsored by Republican state Representative Bruce Griffey, who argues that state schools are not allowed to teach what he calls “Christian values” to his daughters – so he says, “I don’t see how LGBTQ and other issues and social lifestyles should be part of the curriculum.”
In other U.S. state-related news, a South Dakota Senate committee killed a so-called “bathroom bill” this week. It would have required trans students to use gender-segregated campus facilities like restrooms and locker rooms based on their birth gender.
In Virginia, a House of Delegates committee rejected a bill that would have made the state Department of Education’s guidelines for supporting transgender and non-binary students not mandatory for school districts.
Herstory was made in the U.S. Senate this week.
Chantale Wong’s confirmation as U.S. Director of the Asian Development Bank makes her the first out lesbian and first LGBTQ person of color to serve in a federal ambassador-level position. The Asian Development Bank promotes social and economic development in the Asia-Pacific region. Wong was confirmed February 8th in a rare bipartisan Senate vote of 66-to-31.
With a master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Wong served as budget director at NASA and Acting Budget Director of the U.S. Treasury Department. She was also the Founding Chair of the Conference on A.P.A. Leadership, a group that encourages young Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to pursue careers in public service.
Imani Rupert-Gordon is the Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Her press release applauding Wong’s confirmation read, “When President Biden took office a year ago, he pledged to transform the Executive Branch by including appointments that reflected the full diversity of our great nation – including people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community. From appointing Secretary Buttigieg and Admiral Rachel Levine – the first Senate-confirmed openly gay and transgender cabinet-level appointments respectively – to today’s confirmation of Ambassador Wong, it is clear that President Biden is intent on fulfilling that promise.”
A leading European Roman Catholic Cardinal has done “what Jesus would do”: call for a “fundamental revision” of Church teachings on homosexuality. During an interview with the German Catholic news agency KNA, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg confessed that he does not consider same-gender relationships sinful, saying, “I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer true.” Hollerich testified that in his own Archdiocese “no one is dismissed because they are homosexual.” He also supports Church employees regardless of sexuality. “I can’t kick them out. They would become unemployed. How can such a thing be Christian?”
Unfortunately Cardinal Hollerich’s comments – and even Pope Francis’ support for greater acceptance of LGBTQ people -- are not likely to foster any foreseeable changes in Roman Catholic doctrine.
Finally, the first bill introduced in an Indian parliamentary committee in 2022 will probably crash on take-off. The Committee on Public Undertakings wants to get the airport code of the city of Gaya changed from “GAY” to an alternative like “YAG.” The Committee finds the G-A-Y code “inappropriate, unsuitable, offensive and embarrassing.”
Gaya is where Rama, Sita and Lakshmana go to give an offering to Dasharath in the Hindu epic Ramayana. It’s a major Hindu pilgrimage site, and also a holy city in Jainism and Buddhism. The world heritage site Mahabodhi Temple is said to be where the Buddha gained enlightenment.
Conservative lawmakers are refueling the campaign they began a year ago to change the airport code, and they’re barnstorming the federal government to find a way, according to The Economic Times. Reportedly Air India already asked the International Air Transport Association for the change at the government’s request.
However, Association regulations say that airport code designations are permanent unless a change is justified based on compelling air safety needs.
So, as Pink News notes, “[At least] for now, Gaya will remain unique as a holy city and pilgrimage site with the gayest airport in the world.”
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