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This Way Out Radio Ep.#1776: Queer Grammy Conquests 2022 & US States of Fear!

Some of our favorite LGBTQ artists and their friends — like Doja Cat featuring SZA, Brothers Osborne, St. Vincent, Brandi Carlile and Tyler, the Creator — take home honors and deliver highlight moments at the 64th Grammy Awards ceremony, ably covered by Steve Sims of Queer Music Focus.

From Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” firestorm to the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s fire hose, from Ohio state Rep. Jean Schmidt’s cowardice to Alabama state Rep. Neil Rafferty’s courage, from New York Mayor Eric Adams’ welcome and back around to Florida’s exclusion, conservative Republicans and queer rights advocates are locked in combat around the U.S.

Philadelphia public health hero Dr. Walter J. Lear is honored in a “Rainbow Minute” (read by Soda Nobuhle, produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns).

And in NewsWrap: Hungarian autocrat Orban wins despite losing anti-queer referendum, U.K. backslides on trans rights, Qatar warns World Cup guests to come without rainbows, Tennessee nearly wrecks marriage to make it unequal, U.S. top court gets some Black woman justice, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by David Hunt and Tanya Kane-Parry (produced by Brian DeShazor).

All this on the April 11, 2022 edition of This Way Out!

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of April 11, 2022

Queer Grammy Conquests 2022 & US States of Fear!

Program #1,776 distributed 04/11/22
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Hungary’s anti-queer authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban wins another term in office, but the Election Day homo- and trans-phobic referendum he hoped would motivate his supporters fails to achieve the required voter threshold … the U.K. fails its transgender citizens twice this week by basically legalizing certain forms of discrimination against trans women, and by excluding trans people from a long-delayed initiative to ban conversion therapy … organizers in Qatar, which hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup in November, warn LGBTQ competitors and visitors to stay closeted to avoid possible harassment or even violent attacks … Tennessee’s Republican-controlled legislature debates an effort to circumvent the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell marriage equality ruling [with comments by its House sponsor Rep. Tom Leatherwood] … and queers cheer the April 7th U.S. Senate confirmation of the honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court [with brief excerpts from her remarks the following day] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by DAVID HUNT and TANYA KANE-PARRY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).

Feature: This Rainbow Minute celebrates Opening The Closet Door In Philadelphia and the city’s pioneering mental health professional Dr. Walter J. Lear (read by SODA NOBUHLE, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).

Feature: Red-hot embers from Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” firestorm are spreading across the United States. One of them landed in the White House Briefing Room on April 4th, and was hurled at Press Secretary Jen Psaki by her Fox News nemesis, Peter Doocy; New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors express their opposition to “Don’t Say Gay,” while Republican Representative Jean Schmidt won’t say much about a similar bill she’s co-sponsoring in Ohio (with brief intro music by JETHRO TULL, a cameo by JIM NABORS, and outro music by RADNY RAINBOW).

Feature: The only out member of Alabama’s legislature, Democrat Neil Rafferty, stood against the tide of “Don’t Say Gay” and anti-trans bills in his state this week, although his impassioned speech fell on deaf ears (with intro music by NEIL YOUNG and outro music by THE GRATEFUL DEAD).

Feature: In his latest Queer Music Focus, STEVE SIMS celebrates some of the LGBTQ winners at the 2022 Grammy Awards in Las Vegas (starring Doja Cat featuring SZA, Brothers Osborne, with comments by TJ Osborne, Tyler, the Creator, St. Vincent, and Brandi Carlile, with cameos by Trevor Noah, Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending April 9, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by David Hunt and Tanya Kane-Parry,
produced by Brian DeShazor

Although Hungary’s authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has won re-election, the queer-baiting referendum he tied to the April 3rd elections failed to gain traction.

It was Orbán’s most serious re-election challenge. Six opposition parties united to remove him and his Fidesz Party from power. Opposition candidate Peter Marki-Zay had promised to repair Hungary’s growing rift with the European Union caused by its suppression of LGBTQ rights and other constitutional issues. Orbán argued that Marki-Zay would lead the country into war by cozying up to the E.U.

The National Election Office reported that Fidesz won a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

It seems that Orbán did not need to add the four-question referendum on homophobia to win his fifth term in office. Cementing public support for his battles over legal supremacy with the European Union may be more to the point. What Orbán calls Hungary’s sovereign right to make its own laws, the E.U. calls blatant discrimination against LGBTQ people.

The outrageously biased referendum questions began with the familiar, “Do you support the teaching of sexual orientation to underage children in public education institutions without parental consent?” It asked pointedly about the promotion of sex reassignment therapy for underage children. Two more questions were loaded with threatening implications about how minors could be harmed by unrestricted exposure to sexually explicit and sex-change content in the media.

The vast majority of those who voted said “No” to all four leading questions. However, the referendum is invalid because it failed to receive a combined total of at least 50 percent of all votes. Thanks to a well-organized pro-LGBTQ campaign, about 20 percent of the ballots were intentionally spoiled.

The re-elected Orbán is an increasingly staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his unprovoked war on Ukraine.

Trans people in the United Kingdom suffered two offensive setbacks this week. Their access to gender-segregated facilities and their protection from conversion therapy are at risk.

The U.K.’s Equality and Human Rights Commission has decided that trans people can legally be prohibited from using gender-segregated facilities, or from availing themselves of gender-segregated social services. According to The Guardian, the guidance “advises organizations such as hospitals, retailers, hospitality and sports clubs to put in place policies that are both legal and balance the needs of different groups.” It says that, “service providers wishing to limit services to a single sex are legally able to do so, provided the reasons are justified and proportionate.” What does “justified and proportionate” mean? It’s not at all clear.

The new “guidance” undermines provisions of the Equality Act 2010, according to Stonewall, one of the U.K.’s leading LGBTQ advocacy groups. Their spokesperson said it, “appears to go against the core presumption of the Act, which is that inclusion should be the starting point, and shifts the focus towards reasons trans people, and specifically trans women, can be excluded.”

Meanwhile, Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson has finally announced his party’s much-delayed proposal to ban conversion therapy. It would protect L-G-B people from the bogus and barbaric practice that claims to make queer people straight -- but not transgender people. Johnson calls trans issues “too complex.” His Tory predecessor Theresa May first promised an unrestricted ban on conversion therapy in 2018.

The exclusion of trans people from the protections is being condemned by the British Medical Association, the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the British Psychological Association, Royal College of Psychiatrists and a number of other mental health groups.

Johnson’s refusal to be fully inclusive led to the collapse of a UK-hosted LGBTQ rights conference scheduled for the end of June. Safe To Be Me: A Global Equalities Conference was to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first official London Pride. When word of the trans exclusion spread, group after group around the world announced their withdrawals, forcing the cancellation. At last count, more than 120 organizations in the UK alone said they would not be sending representatives.

Ever since the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar was announced as the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, human rights activists have been worried. They’ve warned that queer players and visitors could be harassed or even violently assaulted for being “out” there. The country’s World Cup organizer seemed to confirm their fears while trying to calm them this week.

Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari told the Associated Press that queer couples would be “welcomed” to the event starting in late November. However he cautioned against waving rainbow flags or other queer-identified displays. Such paraphernalia would be confiscated to “protect” LGBTQ people because in his words, “… if it’s not me, somebody else around might attack [them].” Al Ansari added, “Here we cannot change the laws. You cannot change the religion for 28 days of World Cup.”

Piara Powar is the Executive Director of The FARE Network, which monitors global football games for discrimination. He said: “I have been to Qatar on numerous occasions, and do not expect the local Qatari population or fans visiting for the World Cup to be attacked for wearing the rainbow flag. The bigger danger comes from state actions.”

General Al Ansari’s statement contradicts what FIFA’s Chief Social Responsibility and Education Officer Joyce Cook told the AP in 2020. She said, “Rainbow flags, T-shirts will all be welcome in the stadium, that’s a given. They understand very well that is our stance.”

Tennessee lawmakers almost made “child brides” legal this week in their zeal to delegitimize marriage equality. That’s been the goal in a number of Republican-majority state legislatures ever since the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell decision opened civil marriage to queer couples.

State Representative Tom Leatherwood sponsored the bill to create a separate category for heterosexual-only marriage. He based his argument to the House on the Christian right’s claims of “victimhood.”

[SOUND:] “[I]f there’s any hostility, it’s against those people who do believe marriage comes from God, not from government, and do believe it’s between a man and a woman.”

Unfortunately it was not “men and women” that became the issue, since Leatherwood neglected to specify any minimum age. Minority Democrats pointed out that such a law could open the door for the marriages of or between minors. An amendment was hastily added to make it conform to the 17-years-or-older provisions of other state marriage laws.

Leatherwood’s proposal would also “protect” county clerks and other local officials from being sued for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples, according to The Hill.

Debate on the bill continues in the coming week in both Republican-dominated chambers of the Tennessee legislature.

University of Memphis law professor Regina Lambert Hillman told “The Tennessean” that the bill is, indeed, a “continuation of the backlash over the Obergefell decision.”

Finally …

[SOUND:] "It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, but we've made it ... no one does this on their own. The path was cleared for me, so that I might rise to this occasion. And in the poetic words of Dr. Maya Angelou, I do so now. While bringing the gifts my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave."

The United States Supreme Court has its first Black woman Justice. Three rebellious Republicans voted with all the Senate Democrats to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson by a vote of 53-to-47 on April 7th.

The former clerk to Justice Stephen Breyer will step into his shoes when he retires at the end of the current session.

Jackson currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She’ll be the first Supreme Court Justice to have spent some of her professional life as a public defender. For the rest of her life, she’s expected to be one of the more progressive voices on the high court – a court that as of now still tilts to the right with a 6-to-3 conservative majority.

Queers cheered Jackson’s historic appointment. In the words of GLAAD’s Sarah Kate Ellis, her confirmation is “a critical step to ensure our hard-won progress is not reversed by those using the courts to fight outdated culture wars.”

PFLAG Executive Director Brian K. Bond proclaimed, “[Our] families know all too well that when our courts reflect the makeup of the nation, the chances for all of us to benefit from equal protections improve.”

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