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This Way Out Radio Ep.# 1769: Quack Therapy Bans & Olympic Wins

Updated: May 10, 2022

Israel’s Health Ministry bars medical professionals from practicing counseling and/or prayer aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and New Zealand’s Parliament prohibits such discredited “conversion therapy” after an emotional debate that included a speech by Green rainbow spokesperson MP Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere.

The victories of Team LGBTQ at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing bring to mind our first encounter with co-founder Cyd Zeigler (a “This Way Out Rewind” from February 2002 with Rita Gonzalez).

ONE Magazine’s original stocking-stuffer that jingled 1950s bells is a “Rainbow Minute” gift (read by Robey Martin, produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns).

And in NewsWrap: the EuroCourt okays blocking funds to rights-violating Hungary and Poland, a Russian court rebuffs liquidation of a major queer rights group, Kuwait’s high court overturns an anti-trans “imitating the opposite sex” law, Thailand’s parliament passes the marriage equality buck to the Cabinet, the U.S. LGBTQ-identified population surges in the latest Gallup Poll, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Michael Taylor-Gray and MR Raquel (produced by Brian DeShazor).

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of February 14, 2022

Quack Therapy Bans & Queer Olympic Wins!

Program #1,769 distributed 02/21/22
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): The E.U.’s top court okays withholding of funding to Hungary and Poland because of their repressive anti-democratic, anti-queer regimes … Russia’s Justice Ministry fails in a St. Petersburg court to shut down the “foreign agent” Russian LGBT Network and its queer-founded funder, the Sphere Foundation … Kuwait’s Constitutional Court overturns a penal code statute criminalizing “imitating the opposite sex,” which has been used to target, harass and arrest trans women … Thai lawmakers approve marriage equality legislation, but it could be stalled as the Cabinet now “studies” the measure … activists use Valentine’s Day in Bangkok to push for marital parity, and activists in Taipei on the same day protest the legal barrier to weddings of bi-national queer couples in Taiwan if the home country of a Taiwanese citizen's intended doesn’t also have marriage equality … a new Gallup Poll reveals that the number of LGBTQ adults in the U.S. who self-identify as queer has virtually doubled in the past decade, from 3.5% to 7.1% (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY and MR RAQUEL, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).

Feature: This Rainbow Minute celebrates the December 1954 Christmas Special of the trailblazing ONE Magazine (read by ROBEY MARTIN, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).

Feature: Those who would claim that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed through counseling and/or prayer are being shown the door in Israel and New Zealand — in some cases, the door to prison. New Zealand’s legislation passed on February 15th by an impressive 112 to eight. Debate around the third reading of the bill was often emotional, with several members sharing their personal stories. Green M.P. Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere is a rainbow spokesperson for the party (with intro music by GARRY ENTROPY and outro music by NICK AFOA).

Feature: If Team LGBTQ had been representing a country at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, it would have ranked 12th among the nations, edging out Japan and Italy. We know this thanks to Cyd Zeigler of This Way Out has looked to Cyd and his partner Jim Buzinski for queer athletic coverage ever since Cyd sat down with correspondent RITA GONZALEZ around the time of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending February 19, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Michael Taylor-Gray and MR Raquel,
produced by Brian DeShazor

The European Union is entitled to block financial aid to member states for violating its basic rule of law principles – that’s the ruling of the European Court of Justice in response to challenges by Hungary and Poland. This week’s decision by the E.U.’s highest court supports the 27-nation bloc’s right to suspend support payments to both countries. Critics point to recent moves by the increasingly autocratic administrations of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbàn and Poland’s President Andrzej Duda to censor media outlets, corrupt the judiciary, and deny basic human rights to LGBTQ people.

It’s the latest escalation in Hungary and Poland’s clash with E.U. legal supremacy. Orbàn in particular has staked out a defiant Mussolini-like position that the E.U. has no business meddling in Hungary’s national affairs. His “national affairs” include playing the homophobia-transphobia card in an unexpectedly tight re-election campaign.

Poland’s spokespeople have been less obstinate, but also claim a violation of national sovereignty.

That decision by the European Court of Justice follows calls in the European Parliament for funds to be withheld from repressive governments. The significance of the moment was marked on February 16th by the Court’s first live broadcast of a ruling.

The Justices wrote, "The European Union must be able to defend [its democratic] values, within the limits of its powers." Decisions by the Luxembourg-based court cannot be appealed.

Amnesty International’s media release said, "Hungary and Poland have been rapidly backsliding on media freedom, independence of judges, [and] the right to protest … Instead of trying to oppose E.U. funds being conditional on respect for the rule of law, they should respect people's rights and clean up their act."

Poland and Hungary are both heavily dependent on E.U. funding. The Associated Press reports that unrelated vetting issues have already held up 41 billion euros from the E.U.’s pandemic recovery fund designated for Poland, and 8 billion designated for Hungary. The ruling could impact those funds, too.

Hungary and Poland have each threatened to retaliate, according to Reuters. They could stall E.U. decisions requiring unanimity on issues such as climate, energy, and foreign policy. At this critical time, they could disrupt a unified European Union response to Russia’s threatened invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking of Russia, President Vladimir Putin tried to invade a queer organization and lost this week. A St. Petersburg court quashed a Justice Ministry attempt to shut down the Sphere Foundation, which funds the Russian LGBT Network. The Ministry wanted to quote, “liquidate” the Foundation because of the Network’s illegal spreading of “LGBT views” and violation of “traditional values.”

The Sphere Foundation was designated as a “foreign agent” in 2016. Authorities claimed that they were backed by outside, anti-Russian entities.

The Russian LGBT Network is also on the “foreign agent” list. It may be best known for creating a “rainbow railroad” with allies in Canada for queer Chechen refugees escaping genocide in that mostly-Muslim region of Russia.

Sphere Foundation spokesperson Dilya Gafurova said, “LGBT+ people are the citizens of this country just like every other social group and deserve the same rights and freedoms. … [W]e feel the case of Sphere’s liquidation can become the biggest case about LGBT+ in Russia. About our very right to exist.”

A Facebook post from Sphere Foundation founder and queer activist Igor Kochetkov was translated in part, “This is political persecution at its finest. And the Ministry of Justice, this time, is not even trying to hide it.”

Kuwait’s Constitutional Court has overturned a penal code statute making it a crime to “imitate the opposite sex” – a statute often used to target trans women for harassment and arrest. The Court said on February 16th that the law was unconstitutional because its general phrasing risked violating personal freedoms. Amnesty International sees it as “a major breakthrough” for transgender rights in the Gulf Arab region.

The global human rights group is calling for the immediate release of people now in prison for violating the statute. That includes trans woman Maha al-Mutairi, who was sentenced in October to two years for imitating the opposite sex online.

Lawyer and activist Shaikha Salmeen worked on al-Mutairi’s case. Salmeen likes the direction of the high court’s decision, as she said, “It was unconstitutional and no one can doubt that.” However she anticipates further resistance by conservatives, and warns, “Their fight back is going to be vicious for sure.”

Thai lawmakers approved marriage equality legislation this week, but it’ll likely be a long engagement. The February 16th vote of 219 in favor, 118 opposed, 12 abstaining and one not voting sent the measure to the Cabinet for “study.” The Cabinet has two months to act, after which the legislation returns to parliament.

So activists are not popping the champagne corks just yet. They’re concerned that it’s just the beginning of an endless rinse-repeat cycle: parliamentary passage, Cabinet stall, back to parliament.

Two days earlier, activists in Bangkok used Valentine’s Day to publically demonstrate for full marriage equality. A prominent gay couple applied for a marriage license and, as anticipated, was rejected.

In related news, Taiwanese marriage equality campaigners braved a typical February downpour in Taipei for their own Valentine’s Day demonstration. They were protesting recently enacted legislation that only allows bi-national same-gender marriages between citizens and spouses from other marriage equality countries.

Andrew Chuang has been separated from his Japanese partner for more than two years. He told Agence France-Presse, "It's not me who loves the wrong person -- it's the government that fails to correct its mistake."

Finally, a new Gallup Poll released this week reveals a galloping increase in the number of LGBTQ-identified people in the U.S. Some would no doubt say it proves that queerness is contagious, but the figures are more likely due to an outbreak of acceptance giving queer people more confidence than ever to come out.

3.5 percent of respondents to the 2012 Gallup Poll said that they were queer. A decade later, that percentage has more than doubled to 7.1. 86.3 percent identified as straight or heterosexual, 7.1 percent as LGBT+ or other than heterosexual, and 6.6 percent declined to answer the question. More than 12,000 adults participated in the telephone survey last year. The margin of error is plus or minus 1 percent.

The “Gen-Z”ers are far outpacing older generations. They were born between 1997 and 2003, and more than one in five of them identify as LGBTQ. The most common specific “queerness” was bisexuality, accounting for 57 percent of LGBTQ-identifying respondents, with a margin of error of plus or minus five points. That’s some 4 percent of the entire U.S. population.

As Gallup notes, “This is occurring as more of Gen Z is reaching adulthood. These young adults are coming of age, including coming to terms with their sexuality or gender identity, at a time when Americans increasingly accept gays, lesbians and transgender people, and LGBT+ individuals enjoy increasing legal protection against discrimination. … With one in 10 millennials and one in five Gen Z members identifying as LGBT, the proportion of LGBT Americans should exceed 10% in the near future.”

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