In his zeal to retaliate against the state’s biggest company for opposing his “Don’t Say Gay” agenda, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may have bought taxpayers a Walt Disney World of trouble, while cynical conservatives offer Mickey Mouse arguments — and pose a serious political threat (also featuring White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Fox News host Laura Ingraham and University of Central Florida Political Science Professor Aubrey Jewett).
Michigan state Senator Mallory McMurrow boldly faces down a Republican attack characterizing her pro-LGBTQ position as “pedophile grooming,” and demonstrates how straight, white, suburban progressives can take back the moral high-ground.
And in NewsWrap: Russian LGBT Network funder the Sphere Charitable Foundation is dissolved by court order, South Korea’s Supreme Court says the military can’t imprison service members for same-gender sex, marriage equality loses a first round in the Navajo Nation Council’s committee process, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoes both a “Don’t Say Gay” bill and a ban on transgender student athletes, Montana’s new law making surgery a prerequisite for changing gender markers is hit with a temporary injunction, Florida’s Health Department gives biased guidance against gender-affirming care for trans kids, a Nevada school board candidate declares homosexuality unconstitutional, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by John Dyer V and Elena Botkin-Levy (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of April 18, 2022
DeSantis, Disney Villain & McMorrow, Ally Queen!
Program #1,778 distributed 04/25/22
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): A Russian court orders the dissolution of the country’s leading LGBTQ advocacy group (and “foreign agent”), Charitable Foundation Sphere … South Korea’s Supreme Court “pulls rank” on the military’s jailing of service members who engage in private consensual adult same-gender sex while off duty and off base … a Navajo Nation Council committee narrowly votes against a marriage equality bill … Kansas Democratic Governor Laura Kelly vetoes a pair of anti-queer bills from the Republican-majority legislature … a Billings district court temporarily stops the government’s requirement for trans Montanans to have a court-verified “surgical procedure” in order to legally change the gender marker on their birth certificates … Florida’s Health Department issues “guidance” against allowing transgender minors to have access to reversible puberty blockers or hormone therapy, or recognizing their preferred names, pronouns, or attire, and suggests that they be sent to conversion therapy … and Clark County, Nevada School Board candidate John Carlo claims that gay people are “unconstitutional” because they can’t procreate (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOHN DYER V and ELENA BOTKIN-LEVY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: This Week In Florida: The raging wildfire of laws to take those words out of public education has hotspots all over the U.S., spreading far beyond the ignition point in Florida. Crushing new restrictions on the lives and healthcare of transgender children are adding fodder to the hate-flames. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki [on the News Not Noise podcast) was overcome with emotion talking about the viciousness of the cynical culture wars. Texas Senator Ted Cruz was his usual crude, immature self, commenting on the Florida versus Disney culture wars. Governor Ron Desantis and his Republican-dominated legislature escalated the battle by dumping Disney’s sweetheart Orlando-area self-governing deal – which appears to leave taxpayers holding the bag. He crowed about “defending” Florida from out-of-state corporate interests in remarks after his bill-signing ceremony, and a few days later in an interview by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Late-night U.S. TV hosts skewering the situation included CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers; while on Disney-owned ABC, the host of Jimmy Kimmel Live gave the floor to gay writing staff member Louis Virtel. Fox News host Laura Ingraham warned of things to come, while University of Central Florida Political Science Professor Aubrey Jewett told CBS News what fresh monsters he thinks might be lurking (with a quickie music intro by SEAN CHAPIN).
Feature: Do progressives have to cede the religious high ground to conservatives? Not if they follow the lead of Michigan State Senator Mallory Mcmorrow. It’s become routine in the Republican playbook to paint supporters of LGBTQ rights with a “pedophile groomer” brush — a great fundraising tool. When a Senate colleague tried to use the scheme on McMorrow, she took to the floor to say she was having none of it. She elaborated during follow-up interviews on CNN’s Don Lemon Tonight and with guest host Jonathan Capehart on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (with intro music by THE CHOIR OF MCC TORONTO, transition music by JACKSON BROWNE, and outro music by THE CHOIR OF SUNSHINE CATHEDRAL MCC – FT. LAUDERDALE).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending April 23, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by John Dyer V and Elena Botkin-Levy,
produced by Brian DeShazor
An N.G.O. at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ rights in Russia is now closed by order of a St. Petersburg court.
Charitable Foundation Sphere was officially dissolved by Kuibyshev District Court Judge Tatiana Kuzovkina on April 21st. In February, the court had sidelined the Russian Justice Ministry’s lawsuit against Sphere, which was principally aimed at the foundation’s long-time funding of the Russian LGBT Network. However, Judge Kuzovkina bowed to the Ministry’s claims that as a charity, federal law prohibits Sphere from engaging in such “political activities.”
Both Sphere and the Russian LGBT Network were already designated as “foreign agents” for receiving financial support from outside the country. “Foreign agents” must display that warning label prominently on all their materials – a “scarlet letter” intended to dissuade financial support from Russians themselves.
According to the Ministry, the country’s constitution upholds “traditional family values.” It accused Sphere of trying to overturn “moral foundations in the Russian Federation.”
A statement from Sphere called the court edict “politically and ideologically motivated, separately noting the state’s desire to destroy the majority of civil and human rights organizations in the country.”
Sphere insists that it will somehow find a way forward. Their statement says, “At the moment, our services continue to provide legal, psychological and emergency assistance to the LGBT+ community, and we will do everything possible to ensure this work continues without interruption, regardless of the legal status of our team.”
South Korea’s Supreme Court has ordered the military to stop jailing soldiers for having same-gender sex while off base and off duty.
The case involved an army lieutenant and sergeant from different units. They were indicted in 2017 for having sex in a private home the year before, and were sentenced to suspended prison terms. The nation’s high court decision said, “punishing these incidents could ... infringe upon the right to equality, the dignity and value as human, and the right to pursue happiness as guaranteed by the Constitution."
The Ministry of Defense says it is reviewing “the intent of the Supreme Court’s ruling.”
Consensual adult same-gender sex is not illegal for civilians, but all able-bodied men are required to serve in the military for at least 18 months. Women may volunteer.
South Korean officials defend the military code outlawing same-gender relationships as necessary to maintain morale, discipline and good order. Sound familiar?
The Military Criminal Act currently punishes same-gender sex in the ranks with up to two years in prison. The Act is currently being reviewed by the Constitutional Court.
Activists this week urged those justices to “finish the job” and remove what they call an “outdated and bad” provision.
The widely reported death last year of South Korea's first known transgender soldier sparked discussion about how members of sexual minorities are treated in the service. Byun Hui-su committed suicide a year after being discharged for undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Sadly, her discharge was ruled illegal after it was too late.
A Navajo Nation Council committee has rejected a marriage equality proposal, but proponents are not done. One of the last major regional holdouts inside the U.S. to deny same-gender couples the right to marry, about 173,000 people live on the sovereign Navajo Nation tribal lands, according to Source New Mexico. The tribe also does not recognize the marriages of same-gender couples legally performed elsewhere. A law passed in 2005 defines marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman.
Delegate Eugene Tso introduced the marriage equality bill in March. The Navajo Nation Council’s Health, Education and Human Services Committee spent about 90 minutes discussing the proposal in mid-April, but voted 3-to-2 against it. Opposition was based on religious grounds. One called for a referendum by tribal members on the issue instead of Council consideration. Still others said that queer couples could just get marriage licenses off tribal lands – even though those marriages would not be recognized back home.
The bill will still be considered by other committees, including the Budget and Finance Committee and the Law and Order Committee. Then it goes on to the full Council.
Kansas’ Democratic Governor Laura Kelly is standing tall against the majority Republican legislature in its efforts to de-humanize LGBTQ people.
Kelly vetoed the Kansas version of “Don’t Say Gay,” the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.” It would have required school boards to adopt policies allowing parental review of classroom materials, and processes for parents to challenge materials they find objectionable.
And for the second consecutive year, Kelly vetoed a bill to ban transgender athletes from competing in school sports.
Republican lawmakers tried and failed to override her veto last year. According to reports, they still lack the two-thirds majority needed to override it this year, and will not be able to override Kelly’s veto of the “Parental Rights” bill, either.
A new law in Montana requires trans people to undergo gender reassignment surgery and get court approval in order to amend the gender marker on their birth certificates. Before Montana Republicans went to work last year, applicants only needed to provide an affidavit to the state’s Department of Health & Human Services to make the change.
The ACLU of Montana sued the state on behalf of two Montanans who believe the new law violates their privacy and due process rights.
State District Judge Michael Moses in Billings concluded this week that the law is vague because it fails to be specific about the “surgical procedure” it requires. He said it very likely denies the plaintiffs their constitutional rights, and issued a preliminary injunction against its enforcement until the issue is resolved in court.
Florida’s Department of Health is warning that, “anyone under 18 should not be prescribed puberty blockers or hormone therapy.” Those reversible treatments are often among the first authorized by parents and approved by caregivers for trans kids under the age of 18. The Department’s “guidance” issued this week also suggests that “children and adolescents should … seek counseling from a licensed provider” – which some are interpreting as an endorsement of medically debunked “conversion therapy” for trans kids.
The guidance was co-signed by Governor Ron DeSantis and his Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo. DeSantis replaced the state’s previous top health professional with Ladapo, who supported his anti-mask, anti-testing, anti-vax approach to the COVID pandemic. Ladapo also backs a recommendation in the “guidance” that changes in name, pronouns or attire “should not be a treatment option for children or adolescents.”
The guidance is part of DeSantis’s defiance of the federal government at every possible turn – in this case the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidance about the care of transgender young people. The Florida “guidance” has been declared “non-binding” … at least for now.
Anti-queer assaults by Governor DeSantis and the Republican-dominated state of Florida continue to spread like a bad fungus.
We’ll have a report about his declaration of war against all things Disney following NewsWrap.
Finally, John Carlo could be seen proudly posing with a Confederate flag in an Instagram post – until he decided to run for office. Carlo wants to join the Clark County, Nevada School Board, which includes the city of Las Vegas.
He’s among several candidates running for 3 open seats on the seven-member non-partisan school board.
Carlo demonstrated his love of education in a speech at a church, where he waved around a copy of the children’s book “King & King, about two young male royals who fall in love. His logic- and history-defying rant was captured on video and posted to Twitter by the far right monitor Patriot Takes.
[SOUND:] “I believe in the Constitution. I believe in our … the way our Founding Fathers believed in this country, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That means that help … homosexuals cannot procreate. This goes against our Constitution. And this goes against what parents want in the school district. And this is only one book out of thousands. This is disgusting.”
Not that it probably matters to school board candidate John Carlo, but “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.
The primary election will be held on June 14th.
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