Excerpts from a May, 1997 interview with Tasmanian activist Rodney Croome celebrate the 25th anniversary of the repeal of Australia’s last state sodomy law (Sydney correspondent Greg Reading).
Maiden, North Carolina Baptist preacher Charles L. Worley vitriolic rant about “how to get rid of lesbians and queers” went viral in May, 2012.
And in NewsWrap: Canadian blood donors draw equal treatment, Baja California governor blocks conversion therapy ban, Russia fines social media for “gay propaganda,” Missouri school district bans “safe” classrooms, Victoria town rejects IDAHOBIT rainbows, Disney refuses to “Doctor” Saudi’s “Multiverse,” and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Marcos Najera and Michael Taylor-Gray (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of May 2, 2022
Tasmanian Rights Turn 25 & Hate Sermon Souvenir!
Program #1,779 distributed 05/02/22
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Canada becomes the latest country to lift its ban on blood donations by men who have sex with men … Baja California’s governor vetoes a bill to ban conversion therapy … Russian courts fine Facebook and Instagram owner META, and TikTok owner ByteDance, for refusing to take down “gay propaganda” … Tennessee’s government is among the growing number of Republican-dominated U.S. states to ban trans athletes from competing in their authentic gender in school sports, and they’re now threatening to deprive school districts of state funding if they allow trans student competitors … a Kansas City, Missouri-area school district bans “safe space” stickers and other classroom displays by LGBTQ-supportive “ally” teachers … Oklahoma’s governor signs a first-in-the-nation ban on birth certificate gender markers that are not either “male” or “female” … in the Land Down Under's state of Victoria, West Wimmera Shire Mayor Bruce Meyer equates flying the rainbow flag on the International Day Against Homophobia, Bi-phobia and Trans-phobia on government flagpoles with support for pedophilia [on ABC Radio] … and the Walt Disney Company refuses the demand by Saudi Arabian censors to cut a few seconds from the latest Marvel Dr. Strange movie featuring a lesbian character referencing her two moms, so it won’t be seen at all in the Islamic nation’s theaters (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MARCOS NAJERA and MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Tasmania is celebrating 25 years of LGBTQ equality. On May 1, 1997, lawmakers in Australia’s island state passed legislation to decriminalize sexual relationships between men — the last jurisdiction in the country to do that. It had been one of the harshest anti-gay sex laws in the world, providing for more than 20 years’ imprisonment, and Tasmania’s reputation for intense homophobia overall was legendary. One of the most well known leaders of the decades-long struggle was Rodney Croome of the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, who was on hand for Governor Barbara Baker’s 25th anniversary reception commemorating the historic victory this week. That’s hardly where Croome thought he’d be when he spoke with This Way Out correspondent GREG READING soon after the vote in early May, 1997 (with intro music by JOHN FARNHAM and outro music by JUDY SMALL).
Feature: There’s a heck of a lot more “Stupid” on social media these days than there was ten years ago, from pizza-gate to ivermectin to Jewish space lasers. Some fear it could get worse — like if a right-wing ga-zillionaire took over a major platform. In such an unlikely occurrence, would we find ourselves with an explosion of stories like the one This Way Out’s GREG GORDON filed in May of 2012? (“starring” Pastor Charles L. Worley of North Carolina’s independent Providence Road Baptist Church, with intro/outro music by JOHN BARROWMAN).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending April 30, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Marcos Najera and Michael Taylor-Gray
produced by Brian DeShazor
Calling it “a significant milestone toward a more inclusive blood donation system,” Health Canada has finally lifted its ban on blood donations by men who have sex with men. Canadian Blood Services asked the government last year to remove the antiquated restriction that was put in place at the height of the AIDS pandemic, long before screening processes made it possible to detect HIV-infected blood.
As of September 30th, prospective donors will not be asked about their sexual orientation, but rather about whether they engage in what is deemed high-risk sexual behavior.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party promised to lift the ban during the 2015 federal election campaign, and his government has been taking heat for failing to deliver.
Similar restrictions on blood donations have been lifted in at least seven other countries. The bans continue in Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. – but in all three the required celibacy period for men who have sex with men has been reduced to three months.
A bill to ban conversion therapy in the Mexican state of Baja California has been vetoed by Governor Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda. The measure included fines and prison sentences of up to six years for convicted practitioners. It passed in the state’s Congress on April 21st by an overwhelming vote of 20-to-4.
Activist Eduardo Arredondo said that Ávila had bowed to what he called, “the pressure that conservative groups put on her,” in an interview with the Los Angeles Blade. She’s returning the bill to Congress for unspecified “modifications.” Critics charge that those “modifications” could allow the medically debunked and often harmful practice to legally continue.
Seven other jurisdictions in Mexico have already banned conversion therapy, according to the Blade.
While Russia’s independent press has become collateral damage in President Vladimir Putin’s war on the people of Ukraine, his government has not forgotten to crack down on queer-affirming social media.
The Magistrate Court of the Taganka District in Moscow has fined Facebook and Instagram owner META four million rubles for refusing to take down content “propagating the LGBT+ community” – that’s about 53,000 U.S. dollars. META was branded an “extremist organization” by a Tverskoy Court in Moscow in March. The Prosecutor General’s Office compared META to ISIS.
TikTok lost a ruling for a similar offense this week, costing owner ByteDance two million rubles – that’s about 27,000 U.S. dollars.
Russia’s powerful communications regulator has also asked courts to fine Google’s YouTube for allowing “gay propaganda.”
The so-called “no promo homo law” pushed by Putin was enacted in 2013. It prohibits disseminating “propaganda of LGBT+ identities to minors.” The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2017 that the law is “discriminatory and, overall, serves no legitimate public interest.”
However, Putin routinely thumbs his nose at rulings from that court.
The U.S. state of Tennessee is a trailblazer in persecuting transgender athletes.
Republican Governor Bill Lee signed a bill this week to deprive public school districts of state funding if they allow trans student athletes to compete according to their authentic genders. The percentage of state funding to be withheld is not clear. Neither is whether the law applies equally to trans boys and trans girls.
Like a number of other Republican-controlled state governments, a Tennessee law enacted last year requires trans athletes to compete in middle school and high school sports under the gender listed on their birth certificates. The ACLU’s Tennessee affiliate has already filed suit against that law on behalf of a 14-year-old trans boy. That case is not scheduled to be heard until at least March of next year, and the new law to deprive funds is set to go into effect July 1st. Queer legal advocates are expected to ask for a temporary restraining order to prevent that.
Another bill is expected to get approval from Tennessee’s Republican-dominated government. It extends the trans athlete ban to female college sports.
Yet another would protect public school teachers from being disciplined for refusing to use a trans student’s preferred pronouns. That bill also protects school districts from being sued over the issue.
High school teachers in a Kansas City, Missouri-area district can no longer display “LGBTQ safe space” stickers or any other confirmation of their queer “ally” status. A Grain Valley School District spokesperson insisted that all students should feel safe, “not just in classrooms where teachers choose to display a particular sign.”
Gay former student Travis Holt told the Kansas City Star, ”I found comfort with some of the teachers there, and that’s maybe not going to be the same for students going forward.”
Queer advocates cite evidence that having a “safe space” on campus helps curb suicide attempts by closeted young people. They’re pressing the school district to reconsider its offensive refusal to prevent queer students from finding support on campus – support they unfortunately might not find at home.
Oklahoma is now the first in the U.S. to prohibit the use of non-binary gender markers on state birth certificates. Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed the bill on April 26th, his latest contribution to his party’s increasingly anti-transgender right-wing strategy.
Governor Stitt’s signature caps the backlash to a lawsuit against the state Department of Health last year. The settlement allowed trans people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates to non-binary. After trans-phobic conservatives howled, Stitt overruled the health department by executive order. A lawsuit to challenge the executive order is in federal court, but the state has yet to file an official response.
Now Oklahoma’s legislature is backing the governor, and the “male or female only” gender marker requirement is carved in stone.
It’s the first time trans people have been attacked in this particular way in a U.S. state. Copycats are sure to follow.
The National Center for Transgender Equality says that only 15 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow gender markers other than male or female. Vermont will join those states on July 1st.
The federal government began allowing an “X” gender marker on U.S. passports applications in early April.
In the Land Down Under, there will be no LGBTQ rainbows flying from West Wimmera Shire’s government flagpoles for the International Day Against Homophobia, Bi-phobia and Trans-phobia. Last week the Council of the western Victoria town rejected a proposal to observe IDAHOBIT on May 17th by a vote of 3-to-2.
Shire Mayor Bruce Meyer claimed that it was a moral decision by the local government. His cause was not exactly helped by his defense of the Council vote on ABC Radio:
MEYER: “Gay marriage has been legalized. You've got to equate this to… there are many people who want the Marriage Act changed so that 12 year old girls can marry. There are a lot of people who don't want any age of consent, which would virtually legalize pedophilia.”
ABC REPORTER: “Is it a moral judgment simply to show support to members of your community on one day of the year?”
MEYER: “I don't see why any particular group should have to be singled out for special treatment.”
Wimmera Pride Project spokesperson Patrick Quaine found it “just mind-boggling to hear … in this day and age, an elected leader like the Mayor conflate LGBTQI+ inclusion with pedophilia,” as he later told “ABC Radio.” In Quaine’s words, “Flying the flag is not a moral judgment. It’s the bare minimum a council can to do allow their queer community to understand that they are welcome here.”
The Victorian Pride Lobby has called for the mayor’s apology.
Finally, the Walt Disney Company has refused to cut 12 seconds from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness for Saudi Arabian censors. It’s a lesbian character’s brief reference to her two moms. Same-gender love, cross-dressing and being transgender are crimes in the Middle Eastern Islamic nation punishable by public whippings and steep fines. So the Marvel film has been banned from the country’s movie theaters.
The sheikdom of murderous Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman banned Disney’s Eternals in November over the passionate on-screen kiss of a married gay male couple. It also banned the recent celebrated remake of the iconic movie musical West Side Story because it has a trans character.
Disney refused to censor those movies, too.
By contrast, Warner Brothers recently bowed to Chinese censors and cut a few seconds from the latest Fantastic Beasts movie confirming hero Arbus Dumbledore’s gayness.
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