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This Way Out Radio Ep 1789: Affirming Friendship & Griner’s Letter

A queer teen reveals the importance of their bond with a transgender friend whose family is oppressively unsupportive (an OutCasting Overtime commentary by Carys, produced by Marc Sophos).

Brittney Griner reaches U.S. President Joe Biden on a personal level when her wife Cherelle’s efforts fail to get a response from the administration about the WNBA star’s imprisonment in Russia.

And in NewsWrap: Slovenia’s Constitutional Court grants immediate marriage equality and adoption rights to same-gender couples, the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda overturns laws banning male-to-male and other sexual activities, Iran executes another gay man, Nigerian activists try to intervene in the stoning sentence levied against three gay men, Singapore’s law against sex between men is not being enforced, Turkish riot police break up Ankara’s Pride effort, Ireland’s Panti Bliss schools a rightwing protester at Drag Queen Story Hour, and Berlin mosque unfurls the rainbow flag, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Sarah Montague and Marcos Najera (produced by Brian DeShazor).

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

Affirming Friendship & Griner’s Letter

Program #1,789 distributed 07/11/22
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Slovenia’s Constitutional Court rules that same-gender couples should immediately be able to legally marry and adopt children … the High Court of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda overturns laws against queer sex inherited from British colonial rule … Iran executes another man for being gay … an Islamic court in Nigeria condemns three gay men to death by stoning … Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam claims that Section 377A, which outlaws consensual adult sex between men, is not being enforced, but tells a BBC interviewer why the government is not pushing repeal … Turkish riot police tear-gas, pepper-spray and arrest more than three dozen peaceful people for “attempted Pride” in Ankara, capping similar rough assaults last week in Istanbul and smaller efforts in other parts of the country that have netted more than 550 activists during the past few weeks … Irish drag legend Panti Bliss schools a rightwing protester at a Drag Queen Story Hour-inspired event in Mayo, Ireland … and the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque in Berlin kicks off Pride celebrations in Germany by becoming the country’s first Muslim house of worship to unfurl the rainbow flag (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by SARAH MONTAGUE and MARCOS NAJERA, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).

Feature: On July 4, 2022, the 136th day of her Russian captivity, WNBA star Brittney Griner wrote a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden, pleading for action in her case. Griner is facing 10 years in prison for cannabis vape cartridges allegedly found in her luggage. This Way Out’s LUCIA CHAPPELLE has the latest in an ongoing saga (with comments by Brittney’s wife Cherelle Griner, her WNBA coach Vanessa Nygaard, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, and REECE JACKSON-WHITTAKER as the voice of Brittney Griner with music by ANNA NETREBKO and THE METROPLITAN OPERA).

Feature: Some politicians say that trans-supportive parents are guilty of child abuse. But OutCasting Overtime youth broadcaster CARYS has witnessed a truly abusive family situation (produced by MARC SOPHOS).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending July 9, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Sarah Montague and Marcos Najera,
produced by Brian DeShazor

Slovenia’s same-gender couples can now legally marry and adopt children, thanks to a ruling of the Constitutional Court. The June 16th decision was only made public on July 8th, and takes effect immediately, according to Der Spiegel.

Two plaintiff same-gender couples had sought equality, but were rejected in the lower courts. The Constitutional Court’s 6-to-3 ruling overturned those decisions.

Once part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia becomes the first former Communist Bloc nation to establish civil marriage equality.

The Central European nation has allowed gay and lesbian couples the inferior status of civil partnerships since 2006. Slovenia’s National Assembly approved marriage equality legislation in March of 2015, but voters overturned it in a referendum later that year.

The National Assembly now has six months to bring the laws into compliance with the court’s ruling. In the meantime, marriage in Slovenia is between two persons regardless of gender. Queer couples living in civil partnerships or married can adopt children just like heterosexual couples.

Consensual same gender sex is no longer a crime in Antigua and Barbuda. The Caribbean country’s High Court ruled on July 5th that two sections of the Sexual Offenses Act of 1995 outlawing “buggery” and “serious indecency” violate the constitutional guarantees of liberty, privacy, freedom of expression, and protection from discrimination based on sex -- including sexual orientation.

The two provisions outlawing male-to-male penetrative sex and other sexual acts between consenting adults were inherited from British colonial rule. Convictions brought up to 15 years in prison.

The “local hero” of this story is Antiguan Orden David. He filed the legal challenge with queer and women’s rights organizations. David told the Court that he had been bullied by homophobes, but the police had done nothing. When he reported the threats, law enforcement officials derisively asked him why he is gay … quote, “Why did you choose this lifestyle?”

It’s not yet known if the Antigua and Barbuda government will appeal the decision.

The Trinidad and Tobago High Court overturned similar laws in 2018, followed by the Belizean Court of Appeal in 2019. Constitutional challenges to the bans on private, consensual adult same-gender sex are underway in Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis.

Imam Safari-rad was executed at a prison in northern Iran on June 29th. Nine others were hanged that day, but according to the Iranian Human Rights Activists News Agency Imam was apparently sentenced to death simply for being gay.

The country’s Islamic-based criminal code specifically outlaws private consensual adult same-gender sex. Rights activists say that Iran usually claims that people have been executed on charges of sodomy, sometimes adding under-age sex or rape to the list. Admitting that LGBTQ convicts are being hanged draws too much international attention. Defendants are typically denied legal representation and are basically railroaded to the gallows.

Imam Safari-rad is just the latest gay man known to be executed in Iran. A gay couple was executed for “sodomy” earlier this year after languishing on death row for six years. Two other gay men were hanged in 2021 on the same charge. The execution of a 17-year-old so-called “rapist” for having consensual sex with another teenage boy made front-page news in 2016.

An Islamic court in Nigeria has sentenced three gay men to death by stoning. The 20- 30- and 70-year old defendants reportedly could not afford legal representation and confessed. They have a month to file appeals.

In the twelve northern predominantly Muslim states of Africa’s most populous nation, Sharia courts prosecute same-gender sex, along with adultery, blasphemy, and other “sins.”

Meanwhile national secular laws against same-gender sex carry penalties of up to 14 years in prison.

A Twitter campaign by the Nigerian Queer Union for Economic and Social Transformation says that it’s not too late. Sharia court death sentences still need to be approved by Bauchi state governor Bala Mohammed. Many think that’s a foregone conclusion, but the organization is calling on the public “… to put pressure on national and religious leaders to weigh in on the unconstitutionality that went on in this process.”

Singapore’s law against consensual adult gay male sex is not being enforced. Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam gave his assurance of the government’s position on Penal Code Section 377A during a recent BBC interview.

The Southeast Asian city-state’s Parliament repealed Section 377 in 2007, decriminalizing oral and anal sex between consenting adults. Section 377A was left on the books, however, specifically keeping sex between men a crime. Singapore’s top courts have repeatedly rebuffed lawsuits seeking to repeal it. They’ve passed the buck to Parliament.

Home Affairs Minister Shanmugam told the BBC’s HardTalk program in late June why Singapore’s government will not pro-actively initiate repeal – and borrowed a page from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion against abortion rights:

[SOUND: Shanmugam] “People engaging in gay sex will not be prosecuted. The Attorney General has confirmed that position. And the Supreme Court has said that the government's position has legal force. A significant proportion of our population don't want that law repealed. Attitudes are shifting somewhat. But still, Singapore’s government cannot ignore those views. And let's face it, it's not as if others have solved the issue. A Supreme Court judge from the United States suggested a few days ago that court decisions on the legality of gay sex and same sex marriage may have to be reconsidered.”

Singapore Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

LGBTQ Pride season ended on July 5th in Turkey the same way it began in late May. More than three-dozen people were arrested when riot police tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed them for flaunting government parade bans this week in Ankara.

That adds to the more than 350 peaceful demonstrators who were roughly arrested last week in Istanbul. More than 150 others have been hauled away at several smaller “Pride attempts” during the past few weeks.

Turkey once hosted some of the largest Pride celebrations in the region. President Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party have forcefully clamped down on those celebrations since taking power in 2002.

A small group of protestors booked more than they bargained for at a Pride season Drag Queen Story Hour-inspired event in Mayo, Ireland on July 2nd. Claiming that fabulously dressed entertainers reading life-affirming stories to pre-schoolers and their parents constitutes child abuse, the right-wingers held up “Why sexualize children?” signs outside the bookstore.

Irish drag performer Dr. Panti Bliss-Cabrera was on the scene and having none of it. The outspoken activist made international news in 2014 with an impassioned speech against homophobia that has since been viewed on YouTube more than 300,000 times.

The protestor who asked Dr. Panti if the entertainers had received “clearance” to read to the children came to a queen fight with a painted placard, as posted on Twitter:

[SOUND: no clear transcript]

Mayo Pride organizers issued a statement soon after the dust-up that said in part, “We will not be intimidated [by] far right hate groups … We intend to run a full line-up of events next year.” They set up a GoFundMe page for that purpose. It has to date drawn more than a hundred donations.

Finally, a mosque in Berlin unfurled a rainbow flag to mark the start of annual LGBTQ Pride celebrations – reportedly a first for a mosque in Germany. Worshippers at the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque honored the history-making event by wearing stickers that read “Love is Halal.”

The city’s Culture Minister Klaus Lederer joined other dignitaries for the July 2nd ceremony. Berlin Pride organizer Marc-Eric Lehmann called it an “incredibly strong sign” of progress and said, “Queer people can also be religious and believe in God.”

The affirmation comes on the heels of the mass shooting at queer venues in Oslo by a Norwegian Muslim of Iranian descent.

A statement from the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque’s six imams reassured LGBTQ Muslims, “They do not have to choose between their faith and their sexual identity, but are accepted as such, as they are.”

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