We’re making sure that the post-Oscar hullabaloo doesn’t drown out the rainbow highlights at the 94th Academy Awards. Best Supporting Actress Ariana DeBose’s historic win and other notable themes are reviewed by Ann Northrop and Andy Humm of GayUSA TV, and independent filmmaker David Michael Barrett talks about some queer parallels in Best Picture CODA.
A pair of “Rainbow Minutes” look at war and poetry in “Walt Whitman Comforts Comrades” and “Walt Whitman Remembers Abe” (read by Allen Browne, produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns).
And in NewsWrap: U.N. panel declares lesbian sex a human right, Thai politicians play hot potato with marriage equality, attorneys line up to fight Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, U.S. passports now offer “X” gender marker option, crazed Q-Anon Congresswoman snipes at the Buttigiegs, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Melanie Keller and Michael Taylor-Gray (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of April 4, 2022
Pride of the Oscars!
Program #1,775 distributed 04/04/22
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women’s declaration on a case from Sri Lanka is the first to specify that criminalizing lesbian sex is a violation of international human rights … Thailand’s Cabinet punts a marriage equality bill back to Parliament in an apparent effort to avoid a vote on the issue … Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signs the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law and triggers a federal lawsuit … actor Ron Perlman has some choice (albeit censored) words for the Florida governor … Arizona and Oklahoma governors continue the Republican Party’s assault on transgender young people by signing more laws limiting their rights … the United States joins more than a dozen other countries that offer “X” gender markers on passports … Q-Anon’s favorite Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA) attacks U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband as electric vehicle-loving invaders of girls bathrooms (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MELANIE KELLER and MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: This Walt Whitman Comforts Comrades/Walt Whitman Remembers Abe expanded Rainbow Minute celebrates the celebrated gay U.S. poet (read by ALLEN BROWNE, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).
Feature: There’s been so much post-event hubbub over the controversial confrontation about you know who slapping you know who over you know what … it’s almost drowned out the positive things that happened at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on March 27th. This Way Out’s Lucia Chappelle takes us behind the screens to highlight some of Oscar’s queerest highlights (with music by RUPAUL and EMINEM).
Feature: Promo (with musical teases) for next week’s “Grammys’ Queerest Facets” (featuring ST. VINCENT, BROTHERS OSBORNE and DOJA CAT featuring SZA).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending April 2, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Melanie Keller and Michael Taylor-Gray,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Criminalizing lesbian sex has been specifically declared a violation of international law and human rights for the first time. The March 23rd announcement by the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women involved a challenge to Sri Lanka’s colonial-era penal code. It punishes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” with up to 10 years in prison and a fine, and “any act of gross indecency with up to two years in prison and a fine,” according to Human Rights Watch.
Lesbian Sri Lankan human rights activist Rosanna Flamer-Caldera told the United Nations panel that Penal Code Section 365A violates her right to live free from discrimination.
The panel decided, “the criminalization of same-sex sexual activity between women [in the South Asian nation] has meant that [Flamer-Caldera] has had difficulties with finding a partner, has to hide her relations, and runs the risk of being investigated and prosecuted in this context.” It said that Sri Lanka’s government had “failed to protect [her] against, and have partaken in, harassment, abuse and threats against the author’s work promoting the rights of [the] lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community in Sri Lanka.”
It also called on the government to specifically protect and financially compensate Flamer-Caldera, and to “decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual conduct between women having passed the age of consent.” By extension, that means all consensual adult same-gender sexual conduct.
The Sri Lankan government has six months to file a written response.
Thailand politicians are playing another round of “pass the hot potato” with two popular bills the Cabinet has returned to Parliament for further review. It’s an on-going procedural tactic to prevent both the Progressive Liquor and Marriage Equality bills from coming to a vote, according to Coconuts Bangkok.
Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek said that the “Marriage Equality” bill was considered to be too similar to a less-than-marriage “Civil Partnerships” bill that’s also being considered. Dhnadirek claimed that home brewing of alcohol is already allowed, making the “Progressive Liquor” bill unnecessary.
In Coconuts Bangkok’s assessment: “When the [opposition] Move Forward Party introduced the two bills early last month, they were kicked to the cabinet for review. Now they are heading back to parliament, where they will likely be shelved two months before being read again and, in all likelihood, punted back to the Cabinet.”
FloridaGovernor Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education Bill into law on March 28th. No doubt what’s known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill is intended to push his unannounced bid for the Republican presidential nomination. His new law specifically bans any classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. Its additional “age-appropriate” and ”developmentally-appropriate” language is so vague that many teachers will probably self-censor those subjects in all grade levels. Parents are allowed to sue a school district if they think the law has been violated in their child’s classroom.
So imagine a third grade teacher during typical classroom discussions about “family,” when at least one student begins describing their two moms or two dads – what should the teacher do?
The bigoted law is scheduled to take effect on July 1st, but the first federal lawsuit has already been filed. Equality Florida and Family Equality is joining students, parents and a teacher to challenge the law. Attorneys from the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida on March 31st.
The judge assigned to the case is Allen Winsor. Slate first reported that Winsor is a Trump appointee whose apparent qualification was his defense of the state’s now defunct marriage equality ban in 2014.
On the upside, Robbie Kaplan is leading the opposition’s legal charge.
She is best known for winning the Supreme Court case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act – the decision that paved the way for the high court’s marriage equality ruling two years later.
Into the Florida fray has come one of TV’s favorite Sons of Anarchy, straight from the movie Nightmare Alley. Hellboy actor Ron Perlman is a notorious social media political F-bomber, and he had some choice words for the Florida governor … although ironically he can’t “say” a few of them on the radio:
[sound:] “Good morning Governor DeSantis, Ron here. Don’t say gay? Don’t say? As the first two words in a sentence spoken by a political leader of a state in the United States of America? Don’t say? “Don’t fucking say you fucking Nazi pig? Say! First amendment. Read about it, then run for office. You piece of shit.”
Republicans are pushing similar “Don't Say Gay” bills in at least 16 other states.
The governors of both Arizona and Oklahoma jumped on the bandwagon this week for laws to persecute transgender youth – another kind of “don’t say” that’s becoming all the rage in Republican-dominated U.S. states.
Arizona’s Doug Ducey marked Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31st by signing a bill to ban trans girls and women from competing in school sports. He also added his signature to a bill outlawing gender-affirming surgery for transgender minors. Healthcare professionals rarely support surgery for trans people under the age of 18, so that law is no more than hateful symbolism.
Oklahoma’s Kevin Stitt signed that state’s trans sports ban bill on Trans Visibility Day, too. Like most such bills, both the Arizona and Oklahoma anti-trans sports measures specifically target trans girls and women, not trans boys and men.
Utah’s Republican Governor Spencer Cox vetoed a trans sports ban bill last week, but lawmakers quickly overrode it. The Indiana legislature could override Republican Governor Eric Holcomb’s veto of a similar measure when it reconvenes in May.
Close to a half-dozen U.S. states have banned trans girls and women from competing in school sports in just the first three months of this year.
The option of an “X” gender marker on U.S. passports will be added to the traditional “M” and “F” designations beginning on April 11th. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in his March 31st announcement that “the option will become available for other forms of documentation next year.”
The change comes seven years after intersex Navy veteran Dana ZZyym sued the State Department after it denied their application for a passport with the “X” gender marker. ZZyym received the first gender-neutral U.S. passport last October.
Secretary Blinken added, “We reaffirm our commitment to promoting and protecting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all persons – including transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons around the world.”
The United States joins a number of other countries that offer a third gender option, including Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand and Pakistan, according to The Advocate.
Finally, to a majority of sane people, U.S. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has become a laughingstock. She first burst onto the political landscape by warning against Jewish-controlled lasers in space. The Q-Anon conspiracy favorite of the Republican Party’s neo-Nazi wing has been one of the most hyperventilating opponents of pandemic protections.
Still supporters of Donald Trump continue to eat up her often beyond the pale blatantly bigoted remarks. She was among the “warm up acts” at a Trump “Save America” rally in Commerce, Georgia on March 26th – maybe not that warm, since by most accounts there were many empty seats, and quite a few mid-Trump walk-outs.
Greene “rallied the troops” promising a Republican-controlled Congress that will actually build Trump’s southern border wall and expand domestic oil drilling. The crazy train went off the rails with her attack on U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten.
[sound:] “You know what? Pete Buttigieg can take his electric vehicles and his bicycles, and he and his husband can stay out of our girls bathrooms.”
Secretary Buttigieg called Greene’s rant “literally nonsensical.” A Twitter user wrote, “I’m a woman. And honestly, I’d rather [have] Pete Buttigieg in the bathroom with me than Marjorie Taylor Greene.”
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