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This Way Out Radio Ep.#1788: Queerly Yours, Admiral Rachel Levine

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Admiral Rachel L. Levine is our guest for the first part of “Queerly Yours, Profiles in Courage with Roger Q. Mason.” Join the Black, Filipinx, plus-size, gender non-conforming, queer artist of color for this series of conversations with transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming thought leaders from around the world.

And in NewsWrap: Riot police nab hundreds in Istanbul and make more arrests at Pride events across Turkey, five Dublin Pride party-goers are attacked by thugs, thousands pay tribute to the victims of a shooting rampage on queer venues in Oslo, anti-queer religious counter-protesters drowned out in Glasgow, Pride celebrated across South America, Kyiv Pride organizers march with Polish queers and their allies, armed U.S. white supremacist Proud Boys menace story time, Florida teachers and queer students take cover as “Don’t Say Gay” goes into effect, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Joe Boehnlein and David Hunt (produced by Brian DeShazor).

All this on the July 4, 2022 edition of This Way Out!

Photo of Roger Q Mason by Jason Armond.


Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of July 2, 2022

Queerly Yours, Admiral Rachel Levine

Program #1,788 distributed 07/04/22
Hosted this week Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): More than 350 people are roughly arrested in Istanbul this week for “attempted Pride,” joining some 150 others earlier in the month who also violated Pride bans in other Turkish locales; violent attacks on five Pride-goers mar Dublin’s annual celebration, including a teen trans man still hospitalized with a fractured skull and possible brain damage; thousands of people, including Norway’s Prime Minister and members of the royal family, honor the victims of the June 25th shooting rampage on queer venues in Oslo at church services, in a spontaneous Pride march after official events are cancelled, and at a makeshift memorial outside the major target of the lone terrorist gunman, the London Pub; Glasgow Pride-goers drown out about a dozen anti-queer religious zealot counter-protesters with “Repent!” signs and chants, forcing them to give up and leave the area; tens of thousands march with Pride in Santiago, Bogota, and Lima, while a mass wedding ceremony for same-gender couples returns to Mexico City Pride after a COVD-induced hiatus; Kyiv Pride organizers and other Ukrainian refugees march with Pride in Warsaw with Polish queers and their allies, while a top Polish court upholds lower judicial rulings rejecting local “LGBT-Free Zone” declarations; members of the U.S. white supremacist Proud Boys step up their threatening attacks on Drag Queen Story Hours in Nevada, Indiana, and Texas; and Florida’s notorious so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law takes effect, forcing LGBTQ teachers and other school officials back into the closet, along with their queer or questioning students (reported this week by JOHN DYER V and MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).

Feature: This Way Out begins Queerly Yours, Profiles in Courage with Roger Q. Mason, a special four-part series of conversations with transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming thought leaders from around the world, with Admiral Rachel L. Levine. Levine is the 17th Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services, nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the Senate in 2021. This exclusive interview starts with the overturning of Roe v. Wade (featuring President Joe Biden; produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR and ROGER Q. MASON, with production assistance and series theme music composed and performed by DAVID GONZALEZ).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending July 2, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by John Dyer V and Michael Taylor-Gray,
produced by Brian DeShazor

Pride season in Turkey was no party again this year. Hundreds were arrested for attempting to march despite a ban on the Istanbul event on June 26th. The Ankara-based queer rights group KAOS-GL reports that police in full riot gear entered nearby queer bars and other venues making “random” arrests even before the Pride march was set to start at 5 p.m.

Close to 400 people were swooped up, including at least one journalist. Most of those arrested spent the night behind bars before being released.

Istanbul Pride was once the most vibrant LGBTQ parade in the region before the first government ban in 2014.

KAOS-GL counts a total of 10 local Pride events banned in Turkey since late May, some on university campuses. They say that at least 530 people have been arrested nationwide for “attempted Pride.”

Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green was the scene of a violent attack as Pride festivities in the Irish capital were winding down on June 25th. The assault on five people put three in the hospital, including a 19-year-old trans man who suffered a fractured skull and possible brain damage.

The victims did not want to be identified, but a friend notified local politician Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and he shared their message on Twitter. It read in part, “They just want to let people know that for all the happy and colourful stuff that happens at Pride, these attacks are going on in the background. I offered to pass this information on.”

Police officials are asking any witnesses to the assaults to come forward with information that might lead to arrests.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and members of the royal family joined hundreds to honor the victims of a shooting rampage at popular nightspots, including the LGBTQ London Pub. The June 26th memorial service at Oslo Cathedral was held the day after a lone gunman killed two men and injured more than 20 other people. A 42-year-old Norwegian citizen of Iranian descent has been charged with murder, attempted murder, and terrorism.

The shots rang out just hours before the city’s annual Pride parade was set to step off. All Pride events were cancelled, but thousands marched spontaneously to fashion a makeshift memorial outside the London Pub that evening. Defiant chants along the way included, “We’re here, we’re queer, we won’t disappear.”

Prime Minister Stoere paid his respects at the memorial. Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon laid his own flowers there, saying, “We must protect the right in Norway to love whomever we want.”

Queer Christians in Glasgow, Scotland faced off with anti-queer Christian bigots and won at their Pride celebration on June 25th. After a COVID-caused three-year hiatus, Pride-goers were not having the disruption. Members of the local LGBTQ-based Metropolitan Community Church led the chants that drowned out about a dozen counter-protestors demanding that they “Repent!” The zealots soon gave up and left the area as the rainbow flag-waving Pride crowd whooped and cheered.

There were “proud” protests as well, aimed at the British government’s refusal to include transgender people in its proposed ban on conversion therapy. Legislation drafted by the ruling Scottish National Party to ban the bogus practice includes trans people.

Scotland’s first trans lawmaker Elaine Gallagher addressed the Pride crowd from atop a double-decker bus decked out in rainbows. She said, “Conversion is torture. We don’t condone or practice child abuse no matter what the bigots say – it’s them who do.”

Pride was on parade across South America this week with several major events reported in the Washington Blade. An estimated 100,000 people hit the streets of the Chiléan capital of Santiago on June 25th. They were celebrating the advent of marriage equality, which became legal on March 10th. Marchers demanded the repeal of Article 365, a discriminatory criminal code provision that sets the age of consent for same-gender sex at 18. It’s 14 for heterosexuals.

Bogotá Pride brought thousands out on the same day to toast the election of Colombia’s first leftist president and vice president. Former Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro and running mate Francia Márquez pledged during their recently won campaign to fight anti-queer violence and discrimination. Márquez will make history of her own as the country’s first Vice President of African descent.

The Peruvian capital of Lima broke Pride records on June 25th. Veteran activist Jorge Apoyala told the Blade that what he called “[a] joyful rebellion” was, “the largest march in the 20 years of history of this massive activity.”

Hundreds of queer couples legally married in a mass ceremony on June 24th that was part of Mexico City’s Pride celebrations. Several couples reportedly travelled hundreds of miles to get hitched. A live band serenaded the happy couples with Mendelssohn’s Wedding March and other traditional music, according to the Associated Press. It was the first such ceremony after COVID cancelled the annual mass weddings in 2020 and 2021.

Kyiv Pride was celebrated on June 25th – in Warsaw. Polish organizers invited their Ukrainian counterparts and refugees to lead the annual march through Poland’s capital.

To Ukrainian organizer Maksym Eristavi, in spite of the war it’s “important for us to still march. It’s about pride, but pride in being Ukrainian and surviving through genocide.” Marchers frequently chanted, “Slava Ukraini” – glory to Ukraine.

Meanwhile one of Poland’s top courts has rejected the appeals of four lower court rulings against “LGBT-Free Zones.” Five more lower court appeals to defend local and regional government measures opposing “LGBT ideology” are pending.

The anti-queer ordinances have enjoyed at least the tacit approval of Poland’s far-right federal government and influential Roman Catholic Church. However the European Union has made it crystal clear that “LGBT-Free Zones” will forfeit the substantial funding it funnels to all levels of the Polish government. A few localities facing that loss have voluntarily overturned their “LGBT-Free Zone” declarations.

The U.S. white supremacist Proud Boys have stepped up their threatening attacks on little kids and their parents. An armed man identified as a Proud Boy member threatened a Drag Queen Story Hour reading at a library in Sparks, Nevada this week. A few of his cronies shouted obscenities outside.

The neo-Nazi group marched into a Pride Month Drag Queen Story Hour in the San Francisco Bay area last week, threatening the drag queen, parents and pre-schoolers for simply trying to enjoy a life-affirming children’s book reading by a fabulously-attired entertainer.

Several men wearing Proud Boys attire lurked outside a library in South Bend, Indiana earlier in the week threatening a “Rainbow Family Storytime.” Fearful organizers decided to cancel the arts and crafts Pride Month gathering.

Armed and armored Proud Boys adorned with Trump-related merchandise and religious insignias converged on a library in McKinney, Texas this week. They also thought they’d halt a children’s event, but they were not counting on what one participant called a “human shield of love” -- a diverse rainbow flag-waving crowd of “protectors” who prevented the kids and their parents from coming in contact with the thugs.

Finally, Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law took effect on July 1st. The notorious “Don’t Say Gay” law virtually outlaws any discussion of LGBTQ identity in public schools that does not meet some undefined “age appropriate” standard. Schools and individuals can be punished for violating the law.

Implementation of the “Sunshine State’s” new law is cloudy. For example, no one knows how a teacher is supposed to react if an elementary school student brings up their two moms or two dads during typical classroom discussions about families.

Queer teachers are being forced back into the closet themselves. Rather than providing support to often-closeted adolescents, they’re being cautioned to avoid rainbow-colored clothing, to remove “safe space” stickers from their classrooms, and to hide any desktop photos of their spouses – all for fear of being accused of “saying gay.”

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