“Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel” in Julian K. Jarboe’s collection of short stories about future worlds where queer sarcasm shines (reviewed by Queer Life and Lit commentator Janet Mason).
OutCasting Overtime youth commentator Lucas turns social distancing into an opportunity for self-reflection and nurturing his unique identity (produced by Marc Sophos).
Legendary trans activist Marsha P. Johnson is honored in New York and New Jersey, and a rare 1970 recording of her is discovered (archival sound courtesy of the Making Gay History podcast).
And in NewsWrap: Poland’s homophobic high tide met with Krakow’s Equality March, Indonesian authorities raid a Jakarta “gay party,” U.S. appeals courts protect queer health and families, lawsuits challenge Trump on queer and Native foster care, Jacob Blake’s trans cousin speaks out, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and Brian DeShazor (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of September 7, 2020
Exploring the Moon, Identity, and Marsha!
Program #1,693 distributed 09/07/20
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Polish phobia escalates with a proposal by Roman Catholic Bishops to create “cure clinics” for LGBTQ people, Poland’s Justice Minister announces “bail outs” of cities denied funding from the European Union because of their “LGBT-Free Zone” declarations, and the country’s new Foreign Minister has compared “LGBT ideology” to pedophilia and cannibalism, but thousands of queer people and their allies join Krakow’s annual Equality March; nine people face up to 15 years in prison for organizing a “gay party” in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta; another U.S. federal judge rejects the Trump administration’s rollbacks of anti-bias protections for LGBTQ people in healthcare, while a second federal court rules that a baby born overseas via surrogate to a married gay male couple is a U.S. citizen by birth; LGBTQ and tribal groups sue the Trump administration for dumping Obama-era tracking information to improve proper placement of Native American and queer children in foster care; and the trans-man cousin of unarmed Kenosha, Wisconsin police shooting victim Jacob Blake, Elliot Chafetz, speaks out against police violence against Black people (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by TANYA KANE-PARRY and BRIAN DESHAZOR, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: Considering the stormy present, a future of queer sarcasm might sound pretty good. That’s a world created by short story author Julian Jarboe. This Way Out‘s queer life and lit commentator JANET MASON paid a timely visit to Everyone On The Moon Is Essential Personnel.
Feature: If you think you’re going crazy in the COVID cloister, take a tip from a queer teen who’s using the time in quarantine to go sane (OutCasting Overtime’s LUCAS is produced by MARC SOPHONS, with intro music from Teen Freak by DAVID BROWN and outro music from Six Feet Away by JAMIE ANDERSON).
Feature: From the minute the first brick was thrown at the Stonewall Inn to her mysterious death in 1992, Marsha P Johnson was a driving force in the movement for equality. Now both the state she had to flee and the state where she learned to fight are building monuments to her memory. Johnson was already a presence in New York’s drag community and a champion against police violence when the June 1969 Uprising turned her into an organizer. Along with Sylvia Rivera, Johnson founded STAR — Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. “STAR” was the only marking on a tape of a 1970 interview from WBAI-New York. Researcher Brian Ferree discovered that that tape was the earliest known recording of the now iconic Johnson and Rivera. This excerpt from some of what that young Marsha P Johnson had to say comes courtesy of the Making Gay History podcast (with intro music from Long Hot Summer by THE TOM ROBINSON BAND).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending September 5, 2020 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and Brian DeShazor,produced by Brian DeShazor
Religious tensions, government aggression and queer activist defiance marked the escalating struggle in Poland this week. Roman Catholic Church leaders intensified their anti-queer rhetoric after a three-day Bishops conference. A 27-page report detailing their positions on LGBTQ issues included the creation of what it called, “[conversion therapy] clinics … to help people regain their sexual health and natural sexual orientation.”
However Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Lublin Józef Wróbel issued a statement a few days later saying that the idea of Bishops forcing the medically-discredited “therapy” on anyone was a “misconception.” He told the Catholic Herald that the clinics would only be for those “who seek such help … because they experience suffering because of their inclinations.” Wróbel apparently fails to see any irony in the Church’s roll in creating that suffering.
Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro has announced that the federal government will replace European Union funding that’s been pulled from an “LGBT-Free Zone” town. Tuchów was one of six Polish municipalities with such an anti-queer declaration to be rejected from participating in the E.U.’s Town Twinning program. Tuchów had been paired with Saint-Jean-de-Braye, but authorities in the French city ended the relationship because it is now “tainted.”
Ziobro said Tuchów would be bailed out by the Ministry’s Justice Fund. He promised to “reach out to” any other municipalities that have also lost E.U. funding.
Meanwhile, the government has announced Zbigniew Rau as its new Foreign Minister. Described as a Roman Catholic “fundamentalist,” the former provincial governor and law professor has equated “LGBT ideology” with pedophilia, euthanasia, and cannibalism.
Railing against “LGBT ideology” helped Polish President Andrzej Duda win narrow re-election recently. He promised to block any effort to legally recognize same-gender couples or to allow LGBTQ people to adopt, and to ban any LGBTQ-supportive education in schools.
Still the 16th annual Equality March was peacefully celebrated in Krakow on August 29th, according to the Krakow Post. It’s usually held in May, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced its postponement. Even now the march through the streets of the city was replaced by a gathering in the Main Square — social distancing and facemasks being the order of the day.
Thousands of LGBTQ people and their allies waved rainbow flags, banged drums, danced to music from a sound truck, and heard speeches by organizers and dignitaries. Banners and chants proclaimed, “Love Everyone, Without Exception,” “Rainbow Sheep of the Family,” and “I Am A Human Being.” Participants and speakers also expressed support for the people of Belarus, who are currently trying to break free from despotic President Alexander Lukashenko.
Police cordoned off what the Post described as “a small group of fascists” who were protesting the Equality event. An unidentified rally speaker addressed the protestors directly: “The more you hate us, the sooner we will win. Because love will always win over hate.”
Dozens of people were detained by Jakarta police at what was identified as a “gay party” in the Indonesian capital city. Nine remain jailed for organizing the party, 47 other detainees were released. The August 29th event had been promoted on social media as a “gathering of men to promote independence,” according to the online news outlet Coconuts Jakarta. Invitations specified a registration fee, dress code, and prohibited attendees from bringing weapons or using drugs. Same-gender sex is not illegal in Indonesia on paper, except in Aceh. That Islamic-governed province enforces severe penalties for being caught having queer sex.
The party organizers in Jakarta are being charged with facilitating an immoral activity under the country’s vague anti-pornography laws. They could be fined and imprisoned for up to 15 years.
The raid is part of a continuing pattern of abusive treatment of LGBTQ people in Indonesia. It’s a technically secular Muslim-majority nation, but the repression often comes at the behest of religious authorities. Amnesty International has joined other global human rights groups in criticizing previous raids as violations of “the human right to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association.” Amnesty spokesperson Usman Hamid says the latest raid has “no legal justification.” He argued, “Such a gathering would pose no threat to anyone.”
In the U.S., another federal court has rejected the Trump administration’s effort to overturn healthcare anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg in Washington, D.C. issued a preliminary injunction blocking new rules issued by the Health and Human Services Department from taking effect. Their reinterpretation of the Affordable Care Act narrows the definition of sex discrimination, and allows healthcare providers and insurance companies to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on religious belief.
Boasberg issued the injunction on September 2nd. It’s similar to a late-August injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in a lawsuit brought by two transgender women.
Both injunctions reference the Supreme Court’s “right to work” ruling – the one that declared bias “based on sex” includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
Most observers expect the Trump administration to appeal.
Trump’s State Department under Secretary Mike Pompeo has something else it’s likely to appeal. A second federal court has declared that a baby born via surrogate overseas to a married U.S. gay couple is a citizen.
Simone Mize-Gregg was born in England last year via surrogacy to married Atlanta dads Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg. U.S. District Judge Michael L. Brown ruled for the Northern District of Georgia on August 27th that under immigration and naturalization laws, Simone is a U.S. citizen by birth. Judge Brown was appointed to his current post by Donald Trump.
The decision echoes the August ruling of a federal judge in Maryland that the daughter of a gay couple born via surrogate in Canada is also a U.S. citizen.
Even though the legally married gay couples in both the English and Canadian surrogacy cases are listed by those countries as the parents of their respective daughters, the U.S. State Department has argued that both babies were born out of wedlock.
The Department is already appealing the Canadian case ruling.
A number of LGBTQ, foster care and Native American groups have joined forces in another kind of lawsuit against the Trump administration. They’re challenging the removal of Health and Human Services Department directives to keep track of tribal and LGBTQ youth placed in foster care.
During the Obama era, foster care workers were to ask about the sexual orientation and tribal identity of children in the system. The rules were intended in part to facilitate U.S. law requiring Native American youth to be placed with relatives or fellow tribal members whenever possible. Specifically tracking the placement of queer youth helps the Department monitor the outcomes of LGBTQ children in foster care, as well as children placed with “rainbow families.” The complaint against the effort to “Trump” those rules was filed in San Francisco at the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California on August 27th.
Angel Gonzales is the leader of Facing Foster Care in Alaska, and is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. She noted that, “Alaska Native, American Indian, and LGBTQ+ youth are overrepresented in child welfare systems across the country … Our brothers and sisters of foster care deserve to be counted so that the data can drive solutions and end the pipeline to homelessness, incarceration, and intergenerational trauma.”
Finally, Jacob Blake’s trans cousin has stepped up into the Black Lives Matter movement – and will not be deterred.
Blake remains paralyzed from the waist down in a hospital after being shot in the back 7 times at close range by a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer. It was one of the most recent high-profile cases of police violence against black men.
Elliot Chafetz spoke at a rally outside Seattle, Washington City Hall this week to condemn the unnecessary attack on his unarmed cousin, whom he has never met in person.
Chafetz introduced himself at the rally as “a trans male living in the world today,” and talked about his reluctance to “go public.” He said, “Fear causes us to do scary things. Fear makes us throw bricks, hurt people, but that is not the answer. If you are scared, know that courage is the reason you will persist.”
Praise for Chafetz dominated social media, but bigots also chimed in with trans-phobic, homophobic and racist remarks, including death threats. Chafetz responded that, “We have a message that we’re going to spread regardless of the hate that we’re going to get.” He urged other LGBTQ people who fear attending protests in person to use social media. Chafetz declared, “spread the message that Black lives do matter. That Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back, and he deserves a voice.”
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