The Texas Republican Convention builds a bunker of hate, but Strands for Trans launches a cutting, clandestine counter-attack led by Billy Porter and Lynae Vanee!
Sounds before, during and after the world-changing LGBTQ rebellion at New York City’s Stonewall Inn that initiated an era of Pride.
And in NewsWrap: Admiral Rachel Levine comments on how the overthrow of Roe v. Wade threatens U.S. queer rights, Japanese plaintiffs Machi Sakata and Yuki Kawata face the rejection of their marriage equality case with other activists at the Osaka District Court, the global governing bodies for water sports and rugby effectively ban trans females from competition, Sao Paulo Pride parades before millions to an anti-Bolsonaro tune, RuPaul reads the riot act to anti-drag queen lawmakers, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Joe Boehnlein and David Hunt (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of June 27, 2022
#TransphobeTakedowns & A Stonewall Story
Program #1,787 distributed 06/27/22
Hosted this week Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion prompts fears that other rights, including contraception, private consensual adult sex and marriage equality could be next (with brief comments by trailblazing transgender U.S. Assistant Secretary For Health Admiral Rachel Levine) … the Osaka District Court rules that Japan’s ban on marriage equality does not violate its Constitution (with brief comments by plaintiffs Machi Sakata and Yuki Kawata) … the global governing bodies for water sports/swimming and rugby effectively ban trans girls and women from competing, following severe restrictions imposed earlier in the week by the World Cycling Union, and prompting other international sports governing bodies to consider similar anti-trans actions … after a COVID-forced two-year hiatus, millions of people parade with LGBTQ Pride in Sao Paulo, Brazil and connect Bolsonaro to “Vote!” at what is arguably the largest such celebration on the planet … swimming against the anti-queer tide swamping most Republican-controlled U.S. states, Hawai’i’s Democratic Governor David Ige signs three bills to boost trans protections and make LGBTQ issues a permanent government concern … and Emmy-winning entertainer extraordinaire RuPaul gives his own “reading” to off-the-rails lawmakers who call taking kids to Drag Queer Story Hour “criminal child abuse” (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOE BOEHNLEIN and DAVID HUNT, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR + “This Just In”: a murderous terrorist goes on a shooting rampage at gay venues in Oslo, Norway just hours before the city’s Pride Parade was set to step off (reported by LUCIA CHAPPELLE).
Feature: Texas Republicans took flight back to the 1950s at their state convention in HOUSTON last week. Total bans on abortion and gender-affirming healthcare, and the declaration that “Homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice” were just a few of the anachronistic planks nailed into their party platform. The LGBTQ Log Cabin Republicans were excluded from the convention, but the event was virtually crashed by Strands For Trans, an organization that supports trans-friendly salons and barbershops. Their #TransphobeTakedowns of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz by entertainer Billy Porter and media influencer Lynae Vanee were geo-targeted to hit the phones of convention attendees (introduced by the show opening theme and credits for the 1955 TV show Father Knows Best).
Feature: A good story never gets old, especially when its meaning gains new relevance every time it’s told. Whether you’re a movement veteran or somebody who’s just asking “What’s a Stonewall?” take a few minutes to reflect with us on the reason for the season: This Way Out on-the-street reporter GABRIELLE ANTOLOVICH quizzes celebrants about their heritage at a recent Pride parade in West Hollywood; excerpts from The New Symposium, a January 1969 gay radio program - just six months before the Stonewall Riots — on Pacifica Radio's WBAI in New York City, during which Baird Searles and Kermit Lamb lament the lack of courage - let alone "pride" - in "the homosexual community"; excerpts from a 1970 audio documentary about the Stonewall Riots, narrated by BRETT ARTERY and featuring an eyewitness account by pioneering queer activist Craig Rodwell; narrated by GREG GORDON and LUCIA CHAPPELLE, with music from Living Out Proud by SUGARBEACH, Gay and Proud by the BERKELEY WOMEN’S MUSIC COLLECTIVE, and Glad To Be Gay and Long Hot Summer by THE TOM ROBINSON BAND).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending June 25, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Joe Boehnlein and David Hunt,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Almost fifty years of reproductive choice in the U.S. ended on June 24th. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, its two previous decisions affirming access to abortion based on privacy and due process rights. Advocates are sounding the alarm that corresponding rights to contraception, consensual adult same-gender sex and civil marriage equality could soon be in jeopardy.
The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization involved Mississippi’s highly restrictive state abortion law. Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote the decision, with only minor changes from a draft leaked to Politico in May.
A 6-to-3-majority to uphold the Mississippi law agreed that, in Alito’s words, “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.”
Overturning Roe and Casey entirely was a step too far for Chief Justice John Roberts. He parted with Alito’s ruling to make the vote on that monumental decision 5-to-4.
It’s the first time in U.S. history that the top court has eliminated a constitutional right. States can now ban or restrict abortion access however they see fit. Several trigger measures in Republican-controlled states were set to immediately ban the procedure if and when the Supreme Court overturned Roe.
Justice Alito took great pains to claim that overturning Roe would have no affect on contraception, consensual adult sex or civil marriage rights. However the Court’s farthest-right Associate Justice Clarence Thomas seems anxious to get his hands on those issues. He targeted the rulings affirming those rights in his separate concurring opinion, saying, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” Interestingly the African-American Thomas failed to include the related Loving v. Virginia decision that made the interracial marriage to his controversial wife Ginni possible.
Liberal Justices, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor warned in their dissenting opinion, “Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.”
Virtually every major LGBTQ advocacy group has sharply criticized the high court’s Roe ruling and warned of its wider implications. So have most women’s and other rights organizations.
Jim Obergefell was the lead plaintiff in the high court’s 2015 marriage equality decision. He told Buzzfeed News that this week’s Roe ruling “made me angry, and it has made me terrified. It has me concerned.” Obergefell is running as a Democrat for a seat in the House of Representatives in his home state of Ohio.
Trailblazing transgender Admiral Rachel Levine is the Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She reacted to the Supreme Court decision during an interview with This Way Out:
[SOUND: Levine:] “So, this is a sad day for our county, um, and the decision today is dangerous. Um, abortion is a basic and essential part of healthcare, and the health and lives of people who were assigned female at birth in our country are at risk. So, at the President’s direction we will double down to protect abortion access consistent with the law and the decision. But we stand unwavering in our commitment to ensure every American has access to and the ability to make decisions about their own healthcare.”
You'll hear Admiral Levine on next week's edition of This Way Out, as we begin a new series, Queerly Yours, Profiles in Courage with Roger Q. Mason.
In Japan, an Osaka District Court ruled this week that the denial of civil marriage to same-gender couples does not violate the country’s Constitution. It rejected the case of three couples who were also demanding monetary damages for “unjust discrimination.”
The plaintiffs were two male couples and a female couple. Plaintiffs Machi Sakata and Yuki Kawata expressed their disappointment in remarks translated by “Al Jazeera”:
[SOUND: Sakata:] “It's a terrible ruling. We are being discriminated against for a sexual orientation we cannot change. I'm furious and extremely disappointed.”
[SOUND: Kawata:] “This ruling is much like the government's stance on gay rights. I honestly think that the judicial system is in favor of the government.”
The June 20th Osaka court decision directly contradicts the ruling last year by the Sapporo District Court. It said that the Constitution does not prevent same-gender couples from legally marrying. Those are the only two court rulings thus far. Queer activists and their supporters are facing a protracted struggle to bring marriage equality to the only G7 nation without it.
Attorneys for the couples have already said that they will appeal the Osaka ruling.
The Japanese government is slow to catch up with its citizenry. Almost seven in ten respondents favored marriage equality or some other form of legal recognition for same-gender couples, according to an Ipsos poll conducted last year.
As two unidentified people who joined a small street march protesting the Osaka ruling told Al Jazeera:
[SOUND: Unidentified Woman:] “I think nowadays Japanese people have more interest in the LGBTQ community, but compared to overseas, the country is still not comfortable with them living here. I personally hope that will change.”
[SOUND: Unidentified Man:] “Society is becoming more diverse. I'm thinking, ‘What's wrong with Japan?’”
Global war on transgender girls and women continues. The world governing bodies for swimming and rugby each effectively banned their participation this week.
The international water sports administrator FINA voted to establish highly restrictive regulations, requiring invasive probes of prospective competitors’ hormone levels and other characteristics.
Lia Thomas became the first and only openly trans woman to win an NCAA Division One swimming championship. Some believe that her widely reported victory in the 500-yard women’s freestyle earlier this year helped fuel this week’s ban.
The trans woman ban issued this week by the International Rugby League was described as temporary, pending “further research.” Officials say that they will finalize a “trans women inclusion policy” sometime next year.
The International Cycling Union tightened its already-restrictive rules for transgender competitors last week.
Other sports governing bodies could be next. Officials at world football-soccer’s FIFA are reportedly reviewing their policies on trans women athletes.
Lesbian U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe is critical of the anti-trans frenzy, telling Time magazine, "Show me the evidence that trans women are taking everyone's scholarships, are dominating in every sport, are winning every title. I'm sorry, it's just not happening."
There was Pride and joy for several million people in São Paulo, Brazil, the leading host city on the planet for LGBTQ Pride. June 19th saw the 26th celebration of the queer in the country’s most populous city, after a COVID pandemic hiatus in 2020 and 2021. With rabidly anti-queer President Jair Bolsonaro up for re-election in first-round voting in October, the theme of this year’s colorful procession was a bit of a no-brainer: “Vote with Pride, For Policies That Represent Us.”
Polls currently show the homophobic misogynist Bolsonaro trailing left-leaning former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Bolsonaro has regularly ridiculed LGBTQ people. He’s demeaned masking to curtail the spread of COVID as being somehow less than masculine, and once suggested that COVID vaccines cause AIDS. He’s living up to his “Trump of the Tropics” moniker again – Bolsonaro is already questioning the fairness and accuracy of the pending presidential vote count.
Hawai’i’s Democratic Governor David Ige signed three bills this week to prohibit anti-trans bias and embed queer representation in state government. One law now guarantees the availability of gender-affirming medical care. The second bans the exclusion of people serving on a jury based on their gender identity or expression. The third puts the state’s LGBTQ+ commission “on a permanent and continuing basis.”
Out lawmaker Adrian Tam knows that his state is swimming against the tide. He hopes the advances send what he calls “a strong message across the nation that while some states are looking backwards, Hawai’i will continue to move forward.”
Finally, Emmy-winning entertainer extraordinaire RuPaul Charles is not having it with the recent attacks on Drag Queen Story Hour. Texas and Georgia lawmakers are claiming that taking preschoolers to those life-affirming children’s book readings is “child abuse,” and should be criminally prosecuted. During an appearance this week on CBS’s The Late Late Show with James Corden, Mama Ru gave his own “reading”:
[SOUND: RuPaul:] “This is a diversion tactic to take the narrative away from the gun debate into something to scare people into thinking about something else. And they've been successful. Y'all want to help your kids? Take away them guns, that will help us all. And drag queens … drag queens ain’t hurtin’ nobody. Drag queens ain’t hurtin’ … you know, you’re born naked, and the rest is drag. Everybody's in drag. Chil’, please!”