Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education Bill” is ripe for Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature, but activists like The Trevor Project’s Amit Paley and U.S. Treasury Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s husband Chasten, Walt Disney workers Dana Terrace and Benjamin Siemon and their boss Bob Chapek, state Senators Anna Eskamani and Shevrin Jones, and the ACLU’s Chase Strangio still insist on the right to say “gay” in classroom discussions.
Plus: lesbian Saturday Night Live icon Kate McKinnon suggests a way around the “Don’t Say Gay” bill!
And in NewsWrap: Guatemala’s president rejects marriage equality ban, Ukrainian queers band together against Putin’s invasion, hackers strike Bulgaria broadcasters with Putin clown image, basketball star Griner’s Russian detention concerns U.S. congress members, Texas and Biden clash over state anti-trans witch hunt, Idaho and Oklahoma bills target trans youth gender healthcare, South Dakota and Tennessee catch “don’t say gay” fever, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Marcos Najera and David Hunt (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this on the March 14, 2022 edition of This Way Out!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of March 14, 2022
Florida: Saying the Gay Away?
Program #1,772 distributed 03/14/22
Hosted this week By Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Guatemala’s conservative President Alejandro Giammattei surprises political observers by announcing his intention to veto a bill to constitutionally ban marriage equality and increase penalties for women who have abortions to up to 25 years in prison … stories of queer resilience and bravery continue to emerge from Ukraine as its people valiantly resist Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion, including challenges facing transgender people trying to cross the Ukrainian border into a safer environment, as described to Democracy Now! by lesbian human rights activist Olena Shenchenkov … Warsaw Pride sends its first shipment of emergency medical supplies to Ukrainian transgender and HIV/AIDS patients … “Gay Clown Putin” invades broadcast coverage of the war in Bulgaria … U.S. officials express serious concern for seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist lesbian Brittney Griner, who’s been in a Russian jail since mid-February … assaults on queer kids and their families in Republican-controlled U.S. states continue unabated, including “child abuse” charges against supportive parents and caregivers of transgender young people in Texas, and serious jail time in Idaho for anyone providing gender-affirming medical care to trans youth, or providing LGBTQ-supportive books or other materials to minors, with a copy-cat book-ban bill working its way through the Oklahoma legislature … South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is expected to sign a bill banning “divisive content” in state college and university courses, while a similar Tennessee bill is advancing … dozens of U.S. states are passing measures to require students to use sex-segregated public restrooms based only on their birth gender, and to ban transgender girls and women from competing in school sports … Florida’s notorious about-to-be-enacted “Don’t Say Gay” bill gets a comprehensive review in this week’s This Way Out feature story following NewsWrap (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MARCOS NAJERA and DAVID HUNT, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Florida’s notorious “Don’t Say Gay” bill is headed for the governor’s desk. Rightwing Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis is warming up his pen, and lawyers on both sides are warming up their engines, because the “Parental Rights In Education Bill” will certainly be going to court. The new law will ban public school districts from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through the third grade, or in what it calls, “a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” It allows parents to sue a school district if they believe their children were exposed to such “inappropriate” discussions (with comments by The Trevor Project’s Amit Paley, Chasten Buttigieg, Walt Disney workers Dana Terrace and Benjamin Siemon and CEO Bob Chapek, Governor Ron DeSantis, state Senators Anna Eskamani, Ileana Garcia and Shevrin Jones; the ACLU’s Chase Strangio, and Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon, with intro/outro music by SEAN CHAPIN).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending March 12, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Marcos Najera and David Hunt,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Guatemala’s conservative President Alejandro Giammattei surprised political observers this week with the announcement that he’ll veto a bill to constitutionally ban marriage equality. Giammattei asked legislators to reconsider the law, noting that his administration had neither introduced nor supported the bill. It would also prohibit schools from teaching “anything other than that heterosexuality is the norm,” or anything that could “deviate [a child’s] identity according to their birth gender.” The measure doubles as an anti-choice law that would jail women for up to 25 years for having an abortion. It was ironically passed on International Women’s Day.
Members of Giammattei’s own political party were part of the 101-to-8 majority that approved the “Law for the Protection of Life and the Family.” Fifty-one Congress members of the nation’s unicameral Congress did not attend the session.
Giammattei’s letter to Congress warned that the bill was unconstitutional, and would violate two international conventions of which the Central American country is a signatory. It certainly runs afoul of the November 2017 ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that same-gender couples in all members of the Organization of American States should have the right to civil marriage.
Congress will discuss Giammattei’s threatened veto in the coming week, according to Reuters. If two-thirds of Guatemala’s 160-member legislative body votes to move the bill forward, it will be sent to the president’s desk for his promised veto.
Stories of the bravery and resilience of LGBTQ people in Ukraine continue to emerge as Vladimir Putin steps up his brutal invasion – and that’s a word that could get you 15 years in a Russian prison.
Warsaw Pride chair Julia Maciocha told Pink News via Zoom that they were arranging suitable, safe housing for queer people crossing the Polish border. Many don’t make it that far. Ukrainian trans people are having particular difficulty fleeing the country because their identification documents don’t match their gender identity. People identified as male between the ages of 18 and 60 are required to remain and join the defense effort. Lesbian human rights activist Olena Shenchenkov explained the situation for trans people and other minority groups with ID difficulties on Democracy Now!
[SOUND:] “It is almost not possible for those people who have these male documents still, or for other trans people to cross the border, because during the war, they need to be in the war by law. So basically, they don't have any possibility to leave the country. That's why they are staying in our shelters. And of course, there is an option … for Roma people as well, just to try and to cross the border without documents. But it's also very problematic, even … even taking into account that we've been said[?] by different bodies, I don't know, in Ukraine and different countries, that it will be possible for people without documents to cross the border. But it's not.”
Transgender people who are trapped or choose to stay in Ukraine need hormones and related meds, and those with HIV/AIDS need access to antiretroviral drugs. Warsaw Pride’s Maciocha said, “They need food, they need medical supplies, they need their basic needs to be met. It just hurts to know that they could be hurt at any time.” On March 7th they sent their first shipment of medical supplies to Ukraine with the help of Fundacja Interakcja, a Polish foundation that helps intersex people.
Oops! How did “Gay Clown Putin” wind up in the middle of war coverage by Bulgaria’s major broadcasters? Activist hackers protested Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on March 6th by posting the now-infamous caricature of the Russian dictator with the caption “Make Love Not War.” It depicts “Vlad the Invader” wearing lipstick and mascara with the colors of the rainbow Pride flag as the backdrop. The image first surfaced on social media as a protest of Russia’s 2013 so-called “no promo homo law” that banned the “promotion of homosexuality” to minors.
Putin has succeeded in shutting down virtually every independent media outlet in the country that could be providing honest coverage of the invasion, so the Russian people have been force-fed a false narrative by the state-owned press. Ukrainian hackers have managed to post anti-war messages on the home pages of Russian media outlets, hacked legitimate war footage from Ukraine into Russian state TV, and leaked swiped Russian government files, according to Pink News.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church threw himself into Putin’s disinformation crusade during his Sunday sermon. Patriarch Kirill named encroaching “Western values” like LGBTQ Pride parades as rationale enough for the war.
Meanwhile, anxiety is mounting over the fate of lesbian basketball star Brittney Griner. The seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist has been in a Russian jail since February 17th. Customs officers at a Moscow-area airport detained Griner after allegedly discovering cannabis oil vape cartridges in her luggage.
Out Texas Congressman Colin Allred finds the situation “extremely concerning.” He told ESPN, “I do think that it’s really unusual that we’ve not been granted access to her from our embassy and our consular services. … The Russian criminal justice system is very different than ours, very opaque.” Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Griner’s Houston home district told MSNBC that COVID protocols had further complicated the process.
Biden administration officials fear that Griner will be used as a bargaining chip as hostilities with Russia escalate.
Griner’s wife Cherelle thanked people who have “reached out” about the athlete’s detention in Russia. She posted a photo of Brittney with the message: “I miss your voice. I miss your presence. There are no words to express this pain. I’m hurting, we’re hurting. We await the day to love on you as a family.”
Finally, the assault on queer kids rages on in Republican controlled U.S. states – especially targeting young transgender kids and their families. One of the most egregious involves agents of the Texas government investigating and charging the supportive parents of transgender people with child abuse. Opponents have succeeded in getting a judge to issue a restraining order to temporarily stop the investigations. Governor Greg Abbott and loyal henchman Attorney General Ken Paxton are suing the Biden administration for threatening to withhold federal funding over the anti-trans witch hunts.
We’ll have much more about the Texas purge on next week’s This Way Out.
In Idaho, anyone convicted of providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth could face life in prison under a bill advanced in the state House this week. Even supportive parents and counselors could be charged. It’s always important to note that such care for children under 18 is limited to reversible puberty blockers and hormone therapy. Gender reassignment surgery is not standard practice for younger patients.
There’s also jail time in another Idaho bill for librarians, teachers or other school officials who allow minors to check out materials with LGBTQ-supportive content. That “book ban” passed the House this week and heads to the state Senate.
A similar bill passed the Oklahoma state Senate this week and heads to the House.
South Dakota lawmakers sent a ban on what it calls “divisive content” in state college and university courses to Republican Governor Kristi Noem this week. She’s expected to sign it. Critics warn that its vague language could result in bans on discussion of LGBTQ issues, racism and sexism.
A Tennessee House committee cleared a similar bill this week.
Dozens of other U.S. states are seeing the proliferation of so-called “bathroom bills,” as well as trans sports ban bills.
Any discussion involving the existence of LGBTQ people in school classrooms will soon be virtually eliminated in Florida, if the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law is enacted.
Stay tuned for a spotlight on the Sunshine State.
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