Our “Queerly Yours, Profiles in Courage hosted by Roger Q. Mason” series continues as our award-winning Black Flilpinx plus size nonbinary queer playwright of color chats with genderfluid Los Angeles multi-disciplinary artist Dorian Wood about professional and personal creativity.
And in NewsWrap: Russian lawmakers propose extending the homosexual “propaganda” ban to include adults, a Russian court rules that LGBTQ activist Yulia Tsvetkova’s “Vagina Monologues” blog isn’t porn, Bucharest Pride defies a Romanian “no promo homo” bill, Iraqi lawmakers plan to officially criminalize consensual adult same-gender sex, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton would gladly defend a reinstated state sodomy ban, Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf vetoes a trans school sports ban, Houston Sunday Drag Queen Brunch patrons repel a misguided invasion (News2Share.com), a hearing on the impact of overturning Roe v. Wade becomes a lesson in trans existence for hard-right U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Michael LeBeau and Melanie Keller (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this on the July 18, 2022 edition of This Way Out!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of July 18, 2022
Queerly Yours, Dorian Wood
Program #1,790 distributed 07/18/22
Hosted this week Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Russian lawmakers propose extending the 2013 law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors” to adults as well … leading feminist and LGBTQ activist Yulia Tsvetkova wins a rare acquittal on charges that she violated that law and “distributing pornography” in a court in Far East Russia … thousands march for LGBTQ protections and marriage equality in Bucharest as Romanian lawmakers consider their own “no promo homo” bill … Iraqi lawmakers plan to officially criminalize consensual adult same-gender sex to codify existing societal taboos … far-right Texas attorney general Ken Paxton is “willing and able” to defend a reinstated “sodomy” ban in his state if the U.S. Supreme Court follows Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurrent ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and hears cases challenging the rights to private consensual adult sex, contraception, and marriage equality … Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor Tom Wolf vetoes an “atrocious” bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature to ban trans girls and women from competing in school sports … neo-Nazis demonstrate their obnoxious ignorance in a protest of the regular Sunday Drag Queen Brunch at Houston, Texas’ queer-popular eatery Hamburger Mary’s [with on-scene sound courtesy of videographer Kelby Casebolt and News2Share.com] … and UC-Berkeley law professor Khiara Bridges tries, apparently in vain, to educate U.S. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri about the existence of transgender people [with excerpts from their heated exchange] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MICHAEL LeBEAU and MELANIE KELLER, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Queerly Yours, Profiles in Courage with Roger Q. Mason is This Way Out’s special four-part series of conversations with transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming thought leaders from around the world. Our host for the series is a profile in courage themself — considered one of the most significant playwrights of the decade. Winner of the Chuck Rowland Pioneer Award, the Fire This Time Festival Alumni Spotlight, and the Hollywood Fringe Festival Encore Producers Award, Roger is currently an associate producer on the Discovery+ docu-series Book of Queer, and a researcher for Freeform/Disney’s How We Got Here. Their guest for the second installment of the series is another groundbreaking creative artist: Dorian Wood (produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR and ROGER Q. MASON, with music and sound production by DAVID GONZALEZ).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending July 16, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Michael LeBeau and Melanie Keller
produced by Brian DeShazor
Russia’s “no promo homo” law would include material distributed to adults if a prominent member of the Duma gets his way. Aleksandr Khinshtein chairs the Information Committee in the lower house of parliament, and he thinks the country’s law banning the dissemination of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors is “insufficient.” Khinshtein wrote in a social media post, “We propose to fully extend the ban on that sort of propaganda among audiences of all ages [covering] offline, media outlets, the internet, social media, as well as in cinema theaters.” The current law sends offenders to jail for up to 15 days, or fines them up to a million rubles – about 15,500 U.S. dollars. Khinshtein is pushing for stronger penalties.
Vladimir Putin enthusiastically signed the current “no promo homo” law in 2013. The legislation essentially killed public Pride celebrations.
Khinshtein plans to introduce his expanded “no promo homo” legislative package when the Duma reconvenes later this year.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine led to Russia’s exit from the human rights-promoting Council of Europe earlier this year. That move paved the way for increased repression according to Parliamentary Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, who said, “Attempts to impose alien values on our society have failed.”
Meanwhile, a leading Russian feminist and LGBTQ activist has been acquitted of distributing “pornography and LGBT propaganda.”
Yulia Tsvetkova’s the “Vagina Monologues” blog featured body-positive drawings of the female anatomy. Her arrest in 2019 prompted nationwide protests, resulting in dozens of detentions. The Kremlin officially declared her to be a “foreign agent” earlier this year.
Tsvetkova faced up to six years in prison on the “porn” charges. In a rare legal triumph, she was cleared by the Central Court in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Far East Russia. Prosecutors can still appeal the verdict. As her mother Anna Khodyreva declared on Facebook, “We rejoice, but only for now.”
Thousands of people celebrated LGBTQ Pride in Bucharest even as Romanian lawmakers consider their own version of “no promo homo.”
Organizers claim that more than 15,000 marched for LGBTQ legal protections and marriage equality on July 9th.
Fewer than a hundred responded with a “Normalcy March” to counter the queer festivities.
Romania’s Senate has already passed a ban on the use of school materials that “promote” being LGBTQ.
Forty-four Members of the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup wrote to Romanian officials urging them to scuttle the “worrying development.” They compared it to similar censorship laws in Russia and Hungary.
The measure would allow the government to ban classroom materials that promote “the popularization of sex changes or homosexuality.” Proponents claim that it prevents “child abuse.” It’s currently being considered by the Romanian parliament’s lower house.
Some Iraqi lawmakers want to “prevent homosexuality and the perversions associated with it.” M.P. Aref al-Hamami told the Iraqi News Agency that the country’s Parliamentary Legal Committee met on July 8th to consider such legislation.
Homosexuality has technically been legal in Iraq since 2003. However most queer Iraqis have been kept in the closet by roving anti-queer religious militias, often with law enforcement complicity. According to Human Rights Watch, LGBTQ people are typically prosecuted for the vague offense of “public indecency.”
Now al-Hamami and others want to formally criminalize private consensual adult same-gender sex. They’re collecting signatures to support the proposal ahead of the next legislative session.
Amir Ashour leads the activist group IraQueer. He told Britain’s GAY TIMES, “The lives of LGBT+ people and the future of the queer movement [are] on the line.”
Far-right Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is ready to re-criminalize “sodomy.” Lawrence v. Texas was the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized private consensual adult same-gender sex in 2003. It’s one of the decisions Justice Clarence Thomas suggested should be reconsidered in his concurrence with the reversal of Roe v. Wade earlier this year – that and the rights to contraception and marriage equality.
Paxton says he’d be eager to defend a Texas sodomy ban if lawmakers reinstate it and a case reaches the high court.
He told the rightwing outlet News Nation, “my job is to defend the state law, and … I’m certainly willing and able to do that.”
Along with fellow trans persecutor Governor Greg Abbott, Paxton is seeking reelection in November.
Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf has vetoed a bill to ban trans girls and women from competing in public school sports. He called the measure “discriminatory, unnecessary and incredibly harmful.”
The state’s Republican-controlled legislature tried to enact a trans sports ban last year, but it failed to cross the finish line.
The Democrat Wolf warned lawmakers that he would not sign any bill that restricted the rights of LGBTQ people. Wolf wrote on his blog, “The fact that this bill passed through Pennsylvania’s Republican-led General Assembly solely to bully and oppress vulnerable children is atrocious. … Hate has no place in Pennsylvania.”
Drag Queen Brunch defenders used music by ABBA to drown out right-wing extremists at a Hamburger Mary’s in Houston, Texas. The weekly Sunday brunches are just about the food and the entertainment by local drag stars, and are not marketed to children.
Protesters gathered across the street from the queer-popular eatery on July 10th – some believing they were protesting a strip show for children. Some of them wore Nazi insignia. Their ignorant outbursts were captured by videographer Kelly Casebolt and posted to YouTube by News2Share.com:
CROWD CHANTS: Hey hey whaddayou say, it’s okay to be gay, hey hey whaddayou say, it’s okay to be gay …
UNIDENTIFIED BIGOT: Who in their right mind … what person in your right f***in’ mind – would decide that it is okay to go out and strip down in front of some children? It’s not okay for a woman to do that in front of children. It's not okay for a man to do that in front of children. And yet here we are constantly, constantly battling this horde of degenerates who want to sit up here and continuously bash everybody that has a moral concept.
BIGOT CHANTS: Fags not welcome, fags not welcome, fags not welcome …
UNIDENTIFIED DEFENDER: Oh my god, is that a Trump rally across the street? Where are … where are all the minorities? It’s like a white supremacist rally …
CROWD CHANTS: Go home … go home … Nazis go home, nazis go home, nazis go home, nazis go home …
Finally, Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri added to his dubious legacy at a July 12th Senate hearing by questioning the existence of transgender people. It was at a committee hearing regarding the future of abortion rights following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. University of California, Berkeley law professor Khiara Bridges tried to educate the Senator best known for raising a supportive fist to Capitol-storming insurrectionists on January 6th, 2021.
Her efforts were apparently in vain:
HAWLEY: Professor Bridges … you've used a phrase, I want to make sure I understand what you mean by it. You've referred to people with a capacity for pregnancy. Will that be women?
BRIDGES: Many women, cis women, have the capacity for pregnancy. Many cis women do not have the capacity for pregnancy. There are also trans men who are capable of pregnancy, as well as nonbinary people who are capable of pregnancy.
HAWLEY: So this isn't really a women's rights issue. It's …
BRIDGES: We should recognize that this impacts women while also recognizing that it impacts other groups. Those things are not mutually exclusive, Senator Hawley. … I want to recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic. And it opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing that …
HAWLEY: Wow, you're saying that I'm opening up people to violence by asking whether or not women are the folks who can have pregnancies?
BRIDGES: I want to note that one out of five transgender persons have attempted suicide. So I think it's important …
HAWLEY: Because of my line of questioning? …
BRIDGES: Do you believe that men can get pregnant?
HAWLEY: No, I don't think …
BRIDGES: So you’re denying that trans people exist …
HAWLEY: And that leads to violence? Is this how you run your classroom?
BRIDGES: We have a good time in my class. You should join.
HAWLEY: I bet …
BRIDGES: You might learn a lot.