Comedienne Rosie Wilby may be funny, but she’s not joking about the positive results of failed romances in her new book, “The Breakup Monologues.” Hear her read an excerpt on the air, and check out her interview with veteran This Way Out Life and Lit Commentator Janet Mason — in print, in our first e-newsletter exclusive! (To subscribe, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The OutCasting Overtime reveals the origins of common anti-LGBTQ slurs, and explores the impact of verbal violence on young people — and how liberating labels can help (Isha introduces Chris, produced by Marc Sophos)!
Gay “Best Playwright” Matthew Lopez takes home the first Tony Award won by a Latine writer, and advocates for inclusion on Broadway!
And in NewsWrap: Germany’s Tessa Ganserer and Nyke Slawik are the first trans candidates elected to the Bundestag, the Taipei High Court says trans people have nothing to prove, Polish “LGBT Free Zones” bow to E.U. financial pressure, “I Am Samuel” is the second major queer film banned in Kenya, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by John Dyer V and Wendy Natividad (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this and more on the October 4, 2021 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of October 4, 2021
“The Breakup Monologues” & “Slurred” Speech
Program #1,749 distributed 10/04/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): German voters elect their first transgender lawmakers, while Chancellor Angela Merkel’s outgoing government makes good on promises to compensate queer victims of the Nazi regime … the Taipei Administrative Court rules as unconstitutional Taiwan’s requirement that trans people provide proof of surgery and reproductive organ removal before they can change their legal gender … four, and probably five Polish regions with “LGBT-Free Zone” declarations bow to threatened loss of E.U. COVID-19 relief funding and revoke them … Hungary’s government claims that its E.U. funding is being withheld because of homophobic laws, and continues its oppression by equating LGBTQ-positive films and TV shows with gory horror movies like the Saw franchise or The Exorcist … Kenya’s Film Board bans the locally-produced documentary about the challenging life of a gay man, I Am Samuel, as anti-Christian … and Thailand’s Constitutional Court delays its ruling on a marriage equality case without explanation for the third time this year (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOHN DYER V and WENDY NATIVIDAD, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Broadway bowed to several queer-related shows and artists at this year’s Tony Awards on September 26th, but one acceptance speech stood out. The Inheritance won multiple awards, including Best New Play. Playwright Matthew López spoke passionately about what was a historic landmark (with incidental music by GEORGE BENSON).
Feature: Contrary to the popular expression, sticks and stones thrown with words can be just as damaging as the other kind. ISHA and CHRIS of the OutCasting Overtime crew explores verbal violence and liberating labels (produced by MARC SOPHOS, and with TWO-added intro music by SEETHER).
Feature: London comedian Rosie Wilby is a long-time This Way Out contributor and a researcher into the psychology of break-ups. Her new book is called The Breakup Monologues: The Unexpected Joy of Heartbreak. In this excerpt from the prologue, you’ll discover that Rosie may be funny, but she’s not joking (with music by HARRY NILSSON). [Find out more about the book and Rosie’s ruminations about romance in our first “in print” interview with This Way Out’s Janet Mason. It’s featured on our website and in our new e-newsletter, INSIDE This Way Out. To subscribe, write to email@example.com.]
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending October 2, 2021 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by John Dyer V and Wendy Natividad, produced by Brian DeShazor
German voters elected their first two transgender members of parliament this week, in addition to dethroning longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel.
With about 25.7 percent of the vote, the center-left Social Democrats and their candidate Olaf Scholz defeated Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union by just over one point. That ends Chancellor Merkel’s 16-year tenure.
With almost 15 percent of the vote, the Green Party enjoyed its best-ever third-place finish, including the election of trans candidates Tessa Ganserer and Nyke Slawik.
Forty-four-year-old Ganserer first served as a member of Bavaria’s regional parliament. 27-year-old political newcomer Slawik’s campaign focused on combatting climate change and the creation of a national action plan to fight anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence. Anti-queer hate crimes in Germany rose by 36 percent last year, according to police figures.
Merkel stays in power until the Social Democrats elect the next Chancellor. Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz will likely lead a coalition government, since his party only won about one in four seats in the Bundestag, or parliament.
Before the federal elections, Merkel’s government finally made good on its promise to compensate people who were investigated or prosecuted for homosexuality during the Nazi reign of terror.
The Federal Office of Justice announced at the end of August that 317 people had applied for compensation. Two-hundred-forty-nine of them have received a total of almost 860,000 euros – slightly more than a million U.S. dollars.
The application deadline is July 21st, 2022.
This week the Taipei High Administrative Court struck down the requirement that trans people provide proof of reassignment surgery and the full removal of reproductive organs before they can legally change their gender.
Transgender plaintiff Xiao E filed suit on April 1st, the International Trans Day of Visibility. She had not been allowed to change the gender designation on her national ID card because she had no proof of surgery. She was represented by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, the advocacy group that successfully won marriage equality.
The September 23rd high court ruling declared that the proof of surgery requirement was unconstitutional. That ruling can still be appealed by the Interior Ministry, according to The Taipei Times.
The decision only applies to Xiao E. The U.K.’s Gay Times explains that others seeking a legal gender change without proof of surgery will have to wait for the government to revise current regulations, or file their own lawsuits.
Pressure from the European Union has succeeded in getting four Polish provinces to repeal their “LGBT-Free Zone” declarations. Lawmakers in Świętokrzyskie responded to the threatened denial of E.U. funding on September 22nd. Four days later Podkarpackie, Lubelskie and Malopolskie followed suit, and the Sydney Star Observer reports that discussions are also underway in the
province of Łódzkie.
The European Commission wrote to all five provincial governments in early September advising them that their anti-queer declarations violated E.U. law. They were threatened with the loss of much-needed cash if they failed to remove them. Poland’s COVID-19 recovery allocation was at stake — more than 1.5 billion euros.
Close to a hundred local governments in Poland have passed “LGBT-Free Zone” laws since 2019. The legislation has had the backing of the government’s ruling far-right Law and Justice Party and the politically powerful Roman Catholic Church.
The Polish government once promised to reimburse local governments who lost E.U. funding because of their anti-queer declarations. More recent reports suggest that it is quietly urging the provinces to overturn those policies in order to get the funding.
In neighboring Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán bristles at the E.U.’s threats. The European Commission has yet to approve pandemic recovery funding to his government of up to 819 billion euros, or about 950 billion U.S. dollars. Orbán told local state media that the E.U. is withholding the funding “because of the debate around LGBTQ policy.” The country recently banned any positive depictions of same-gender love or gender transition that could be available to minors buried in a bill to clamp down on pedophilia. The government says the restrictions apply to schools, the media, and even books.
Hungary’s Justice Minister Judit Varga argued in a mid-September Facebook post that the country has the right to protect what he called its “culture, national identity and the family values rooted in them.” He said, “They try to punish us only because we don’t let the LGBTQ lobby into Hungarian schools and kindergartens.”
Meanwhile, Hungary’s media regulator has published guidelines to broadcasters that equate films portraying homosexuality or gender identity issues with gory horror movies, again under the guise of “protecting children.”
The revised guidelines from the National Media and Infocommunications Authority are an apparent follow-up to the earlier law banning queer-positive portrayals. The regulator now classifies Oscar-winning queer Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother and The L Word TV series with the same age restrictions as the Saw horror movie franchise or The Exorcist.
Kenya’s Film Classification Board has banned a documentary film about a gay man’s struggle for acceptance and his relationship with another man. The Board calls I Am Samuel “unacceptable as well as demeaning to Christianity.” They say it’s an “affront” to the constitutional recognition of “the family as the basic unit of society,” and the definition of civil marriage as “between two persons of the opposite sex.” The film follows the real-life Samuel over five years, and took two years to edit.
Private, consensual adult same-gender sex is still a crime in Kenya. Anyone venturing out of the closet risks anti-queer discrimination and violence. As is the case on much of the continent, sexual and gender minorities are generally taboo subjects in the deeply religious country.
Filmmaker Pete Murimi tweeted about the commonality that comes through in I Am Samuel. He said, “We all fall in love, we all contend with family expectations … the biggest difference is, Samuel, our main character, had to also reckon with homophobia and violence.”
The government warns anyone who attempts to “exhibit, distribute, broadcast or possess” I Am Samuel in Kenya that they will be met “with the full force of the law.”
The Film Classification Board banned the Kenyan lesbian love story Rafiki in 2018, even though it premiered to rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Rafiki ban was eventually overturned in court, and the film went on to enjoy major box office success.
Finally, Thailand’s Constitutional Court continues to avoid issuing its ruling on a marriage equality case without explanation. A ruling was first scheduled for April. Then it was postponed to June. On September 28th the high court kicked the proverbial can down the road again.
The case began in December 2020. Permsub Sae-ung and Puangphey Hengkham had been a couple for more than 12 years when their marriage registration was rejected at Bangkok’s Phasi Charoen District Office because they are both women. Their lawyers argued that the Civil Code definition of marriage as only between one man and one woman violates constitutional guarantees of equality.
A bill to legally recognize queer couples was first introduced years ago in Thailand’s parliament, but it’s gone nowhere.
The Constitutional Court gets another chance to evade the issue on December 14th.
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