The Black Lives Matter movement comes to OutCasting Overtime with gay black teen Justin sharing his poetry and interviewing Ossining, New York activist Jalay Knowles!
Say so-long to former US Attorney General and former Republican Senator Jeff Sessions!
“Uganda 20” sue over prison abuse, Israeli lawmakers move to outlaw conversion therapy, Brazil’s “too macho for masks” Bolsonaro tests COVID-19 positive again, the U.S. sanctions Chechnya’s queer purge leader, U.S. states sue Trump to protect LGBTQ patients, Trump’s H.U.D. wants to train shelter workers in transgender bias, and more international LGBTQ news!
Gay Teen #BLM & Bye, Jeff!
Program #1,687 distributed 07/27/20
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): A Ugandan human rights group is suing
Feature: It seems that the political career of the bigoted former U.S. Attorney
Feature: The young queer OutCasting Overtime broadcasters believe that
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending July 25, 2020 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and Wenzel Jones,produced by Brian DeShazor
A Ugandan human rights group is suing local officials over the jailing of 20 queer people from a homeless shelter near Kampala. Sixteen gay men and four transgender women were captured in the March 29th raid. Under a COVID-19 lockdown ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, the young detainees were charged with “negligent acts likely to spread infection of disease.” Rights groups charged selective enforcement.
Widely published videos and photos show the young people being taunted, whipped by a local government official, and essentially “outed” – which could get a person killed in a highly anti-queer society.
Uganda’s Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum filed the lawsuit on July 21st. It calls the treatment the young detainees received throughout their incarceration “cruel and inhuman” torture. The suit claims that they endured “taunting, flogging, [and other forms of] corporal punishment,” that prison staff denied them food and sanitary facilities. They were denied medication, and a few of the detainees are reportedly HIV-positive. They were exposed to further potential harm in the cramped, COVID-19-breeding jail facilities.
In one specific alleged atrocity reported by the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, a senior official ordered one of the young men to strip naked, then burned him with a piece of firewood between his thighs.
The detainees spent 42 terrifying days behind bars before they were allowed to meet with defense attorneys – and only then because a High Court judge ruled that it’s unlawful to deny inmates legal counsel. Bowing to widespread condemnation of those human rights abuses, prosecutors finally released all 20 Ugandans without charges in May.
Defendants named in the lawsuit are the local mayor and Kyengera Town Council, along with the Kitalya Prison’s Deputy Officer Philimon Woniala.
Israel’s parliament has given preliminary approval to a bill outlawing so-called “conversion therapy.” The Knesset voted 42—to-36 on July 22nd to advance the measure, with some affirmative votes coming from members of the ruling coalition government. The bill must still be approved twice more before becoming law. It could still be blocked by the center-right coalition government because it was introduced by the opposition left-wing Meretz Party, according to Agence France Presse.
Israel’s Health Ministry has already called “conversion therapy” a health hazard. The United Nations has called for a global ban of the debunked “therapy” because not only is it useless, it often causes the “patients” additional emotional and mental health problems.
The vote challenges the already fragile governing coalition government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He’s been investigated for corruption, and three elections have failed to resolve the political crisis it’s created. His Blue and White Party rival Benny Gantz was sworn in as an “alternative prime minister” in May, which preserved Netanyahu’s tenuous hold on power. Passage of the conversion therapy ban in its first reading has alienated at least one of the ruling government’s rightwing coalition partners, the United Torah Judaism Party. Its defection could bring down Netanyahu’s government.
The bill was introduced by openly gay Meretz Party leader Nitzan Horowitz, who compared “conversion therapy” to “murder.” He said the bill would revoke a mental health professional’s license for at least five years for promoting or practicing “conversion therapy.” The offender would be fined, and possibly thrown in jail. Horowitz celebrated the initial vote as “historic.” He said, “Conversion therapy was born in sin, and its place is outside of the law and the public norm.”
In late-breaking news, Mexico City lawmakers have approved a bill to criminalize conversion therapy. Reuters reports that the measure received broad cross-party support in a pandemic-mandated virtual meeting on July 24th.
Mexico City’s ban on conversion therapy makes it the first jurisdiction in Mexico to do that.
More than 85,0f00 people have died from complications of COVID-19 in Brazil, and now it’s rabidly racist, misogynistic and homophobic president has tested positive for the virus … again. President Jair “Trump of the Tropics” Bolsonaro downplayed the pandemic for months. Like his namesake to the north, he’s mocked staff and others for wearing face coverings. At one point Bolsonaro said that only “fairies” wear face masks.
His second positive coronavirus test was on July 22nd. Nevertheless the President has strolled the palace grounds to greet and interact with supporters since his first test came back positive in early July. He’s admitted to having had a low-grade fever, but says he’s not had any ongoing symptoms. Bolsonaro boasted that, “with my history as an athlete, if I were infected with the virus, I would have no reason to worry. I would feel nothing, or it would be at most just a little flu.”
And in a country where football – or soccer — reigns supreme, rival fans are uniting in their opposition to Bolsonaro. Rogerio Bassetto is a 40-year fan – or “ultras” — of one of Brazil’s most famous football teams, Corinthians. He’s been leading the protests, which have united “ultras” from at least four rival clubs in the Sao Paulo area. Bassetto told Deutsche Welle that, “Our president is a homophobic racist, and we all have to stand up to this enemy of humanity!” He promised “a new [anti-Bolsonaro] banner each week … where everyone in Sao Paulo can see it.”
The Trump administration has finally slapped sanctions on the genocidal leader of Russia’s mostly Muslim region of Chechnya. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced this week that Ramzan Kadyrov and members of his immediate family are banned from traveling to the United States.
The State Department announcement refers to a European security and cooperation agency document citing “horrific reports of abuses against LGBTI persons, human rights defenders, members of the independent media, and other citizens who ran afoul of Mr. Kadyrov.”
Kadyrov has led an effort to literally eradicate LGBTQ people from his jurisdiction. That’s documented by numerous reports of kidnappings, detentions, torture, and even deaths in what some accounts have called queer concentration camps.
Kadyrov is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both have claimed that an official investigation of the allegations found no evidence to support them.
The travel ban applies to Kadyrov, his wife, and his two daughters.
The administration of Donald Trump is being sued over its announced rule revoking anti-bias protections for LGBTQ patients under the U.S. Affordable Care Act. A coalition of 23 Democratic state Attorneys-General and Washington, D.C. filed the suit this week. They charge that the rule announced in June allows federally-funded healthcare providers and insurers to discriminate against vulnerable populations currently protected under what’s known as “Obamacare.” It says that the new Department of Health and Human Services rule makes it easier for doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies to cite “religious belief” to deny care to trans and non-binary patients, and to women seeking abortions or contraceptive services.
The COVID-19 crisis had already led queer advocacy groups to file lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s effort to potentially kill LGBTQ people with neglect.
Finally, Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development – or “HUD” – wants to roll back another “Obamacare” rule. Transgender people have been allowed to live in federally funded gender-segregated homeless shelters based on their gender identity. The new rule permits staff to accept clients based solely on their gender as designated at birth.
The proposal says that homeless shelter staff can use “factors such as height, the presence (but not the absence) of facial hair, the presence of an Adam’s apple, and other physical characteristics” to determine in which gender-segregated facility the applicant should be housed. A Department memo makes it clear that the new rule will “better accommodate religious beliefs of shelter providers.”
HUD Secretary Ben Carson infamously once referred to transgender women as “big hairy men” invading women’s shelters. According to documents obtained by the online site Vox, Carson ridiculously claims that the current rule “permits any man, simply by asserting that his gender is female, to obtain access to women’s shelters.”
Even though the rule change has yet to be formally announced, Democratic Representatives Jennifer Wexton of Virginia and Maxine Waters of California wrote to Carson urging reconsideration of the rule change in light of the Supreme Court’s recent queer right to work ruling. They say that the high court decision could apply to anti-bias housing protections as well.
National Center for Transgender Equality leader Mara Keisling pointed out that “One in three transgender Americans has [been] homeless at some point in their lives. This proposal would have them sleep on the street rather than get help.”
True Colors United and other U.S. LGBTQ groups have mobilized to fight the rule change, according to the “Advocate.” For information about how you can submit comments and take other actions, check out Housing-Saves-Lives-dot-org.
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