A 1993 speech by the late Deb Price tells how the first LGBTQ-themed syndicated newspaper column came to be and the impact it had — including a reading of one of her most moving pieces!
A Rainbow Minute notes the incomparable career of Cole Porter — with a wink at his classic dish on Rogers and Hammerstein!
Some untraditional holiday cheer from the Therapy Sisters, and from a rare 1983 EP by Sydney’s Gay Liberation Quire.
Right-wing vows to launch referendum after Swiss Parliament passes marriage equality, U.K. reforms policy on blood donations by gay and bisexual men, Biden taps Buttigieg for U.S. Transportation Secretary, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of December 21, 2020
Deb Price Out Loud!
Program #1,708 distributed 12/21/20
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Swiss lawmakers hand LGBTQ people two victories: they pass the latest version of a marriage equality measure that was first introduced in 2013 – though opponents vow to push for a referendum to overturn it – and vote to allow trans and intersex people to self-identify on government documents rather than having to go to court to do that … Reuters reports that Romania’s Constitutional Court has struck down an education law amendment that banned gender identity studies … the Cuban government indefinitely delays debate on marriage equality legislation that had been scheduled for March 2021 … Britain lifts its blanket blood donor ban for gay and bisexual men, but the new policy still won’t allow all potential gay and bi men to donate … according to the global queer advocacy group ILGA World, 69 countries on the planet still criminalize consensual adult same-gender sex, some punishing offenders with execution, and many still ban the formation of LGBTQ advocacy groups, but there have also been signs of progress this year … the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear Indiana’s appeal of a lower court ruling allowing both members of a married same-gender couple to be listed as parents on their children’s birth certificates … a federal judge strikes down an Ohio statute that prevents trans people from legally changing the gender marker on their state government documents … Washington, D.C. becomes the latest jurisdiction in the world to ban the so-called “queer panic defense” in cases of violent crimes against LGBTQ people … and U.S. President-elect Joe Biden taps former rival Pete Buttigieg to be his Secretary of Transportation, which, if the Senate confirms him, will make Buttigieg the first openly-queer member of a presidential Cabinet [with brief remarks by the Secretary-designate] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MARCOS NAJERA and PAULA THOMAS, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: God Rest Ye Merry Dykes And Poofs from a 1983 E.P. by Sydney, Australia’s Gay Liberation Quire helps make the yuletide … well, you know.
Feature: This Rainbow Minute asks Who Said That? (spoiler alert: Cole Porter; read by DUSTIN RICHARDSON, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS, with intro music from the Yale Bulldog Fight Song composed by Cole Porter, from the film Night and Day).
Feature: Hark The Herald Faeries Shout (another cut from that 1983 E.P. by Sydney, Australia’s Gay Liberation Quire.
Feature: Lesbian journalist Deb Price passed away on November 20th. Working at the Detroit News in the early 1990s, Price launched the first US mainstream newspaper syndicated column from a queer perspective. She opened a window into the real lives of LGBTQ people for a general audience at a time when more than half of the population said they didn’t know any. In this excerpt from a 1993 speech for a Society of Professional Journalists Awards banquet, Price talked about how her historic column came into being and read one of her moving pieces (with thanks to preservationist DAVE BUELL).
Feature: Promo for next week’s special “pioneers” feature: a 1993 interview of Deb Price by DAVE BUELL, with another column reading; and a groundbreaking conversation from 1975 about what came to be called “queer theory” with “Radical Faeries” founder Harry Hay and venerable activist/archivist Jim Kepner.
Feature: The Overnight Productions (Inc.) Board of Directors, and the staff and volunteers behind This Way Out wish you and yours Happy Whatever You’re Having (excerpt) by The Therapy Sisters.
There won’t be a NewsWrap segment on the next two This Way Out programs (weeks of 28 December 2020 and 4 January 2021). Special queer cultural programming will fill both of those weeks.
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending December 19, 2020
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Marcos Najera and Paula Thomasproduced by Brian DeShazor
A process that began in Switzerland in 2013 has culminated with parliamentary passage of a bill to open civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples.
Versions of a marriage equality bill first introduced by the Green Party have been debated off and on these seven years. The December 18th vote was not even close: 136-to-48 in the lower National Council, and 24-to-11 in the upper Council of States.
“Civil partnerships” for same-gender couples were created in 2007, but the resulting rights fell far short of civil marriage. The new measure also allows lesbians to access fertility treatment.
The Christian far-right Federal Democratic Union Party has vowed to sponsor a referendum to overturn the newly minted equality. However, public opinion polls have consistently shown overwhelming support for marriage equality.
When the final dust settles, Switzerland will become the 30th country on the planet with marriage equality. Andorra, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City will be the only jurisdictions in Western Europe that do not allow its gay and lesbian citizens to legally marry.
The Swiss parliament made it a double victory for the queer community. Hours later they passed a bill to allow trans and intersex people to change their gender marker on official documents with a simple declaration at a government office, rather than having to get a court order.
Romania’s Constitutional Court overturned a recently enacted law banning gender identity studies on December 16th – this according to a Reuters report. The education law amendment had passed without debate earlier this year. Human rights groups and educational institutions had voiced strong opposition, charging that it infringed on basic rights and encouraged discrimination.
Centrist President Klaus Iohannis resisted escalating homophobia in neighboring Hungary and Poland to challenge the measure in the high court.
Socially conservative Romania only decriminalized same-gender sex in 2001. It’s among the dwindling number of E.U. member states that still refuses to legally recognize same-gender couples.
Cuba is delaying marriage equality. It was part of a new Family Code that was set for debate in the National Assembly in March 2021, but the government announced an indefinite delay this week. According to local reports, authorities claimed that “renowned specialists” needed time for “more study” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marriage equality was part of the first draft of a new constitution for the island nation that was unanimously approved by lawmakers in July 2018. It was deleted after strong opposition during a public consultation period. Voters approved the new constitution without marriage equality in a referendum soon thereafter. Leaders in the National Assembly then decided that the measure should be dealt with in the new Family Code.
But, according to one English translation of a report in periodicocubano.com, Cuban Justice Minister Oscar Silvera Martínez explained that, “more time is required to deepen in concepts and legal institutions that allow us to provide an essential Code in the current context and perspective of Cuban society.”
Britain’s Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock announced in a press release this week that men “who have had one sexual partner and who have been with their sexual partner for more than three months will be eligible to donate (blood), regardless of the gender of their partner or the type of sex they have.” Under the previous policy, gay and bisexual men were only allowed to be blood donors if they had not had sex with another man in the past three months. Hancock said that the policy change “recognizes individuals for the actions they take, rather than their sexual [orientation].” The new guidelines will take effect in mid-2021.
Most equality activists applauded the change. Others complained that a significant number of potential gay and bisexual blood donors still will not qualify under the new policy.
Until 2011, all gay and bisexual men were banned from donating blood in the U.K. Then they were required to be celibate for the previous 12 months. The time period was changed to three months in 2017.
The latest move in Britain has prompted activists in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. to push for a similar relaxation of policies that now require gay and bi male blood donors to have been celibate for at least the previous three months.
The queer advocacy group ILGA World updated its State-Sponsored Homophobia Report this week. It cited “progress in times of uncertainty,” but research coordinator Lucas Ramón Mendos said that, “As of December 2020, 69 U.N. member states continue to criminalize same-sex consensual activity.” At least 34 of those countries actively prosecute people for it. Offenders can be executed in Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. The report concluded that it’s not clear whether the death penalty could be imposed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia and the United Arab Emirates. And at least 51 U.N. member states have legal barriers to the formation or registration of NGO’s working on issues related to sexual and gender diversity.
However, the report celebrated reductions this year in punishment for consensual gay sex in Sudan, and the outright repeal of anti-gay sex laws in Gabon and Bhutan. There were other findings in the report, too. Almost three-dozen U.N. member nations now offer some form of legal recognition to same-gender couples. Eighty-one member states now have laws banning workplace bias based on sexual orientation. At least four countries criminalize “conversion therapy,” and it’s banned in parts of Australia, Canada, Mexico, Spain, and the United States.
Despite the challenges ahead, ILGA World Director of Programs Julia Ehrt concluded that, “each section of this report … contains hope for a better tomorrow.”
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear another appeal of a queer-positive lower court ruling this week. The Republican-led government of Indiana had asked the high court to review the decision that upheld the right of both members of a married same-gender couple to be listed as parents on their child’s birth certificate. The state had only allowed the biological parent to be listed.
The appeal was among a number of other cases the court declined to hear without explanation. The high court currently has a conservative 6-to-3 majority, and at least four of the nine Justices must vote to hear a case.
Equality activists labeled this as yet another effort to erode the rights given to gay and lesbian couples in the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality ruling. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David applauded the latest decision that “once again affirms … that married same-sex couples are entitled to be treated equally under the law.”
Ohio’s prohibition on changing gender markers on its residents’ birth certificates was struck down by federal judge Michael Watson on December 16th. That potentially allows trans citizens in the Buckeye State to revise their legal documents.
It’s not clear if officials in Republican-controlled Ohio will appeal.
If the ruling stands, Tennessee will be the only state left in the union to deny its transgender residents the opportunity to change the gender markers on their legal documents.
Washington, D.C. is now the latest jurisdiction in the world to ban the anti-gay and anti-trans “panic defenses” in violent criminal cases, such as murder. Defense attorneys have used it to plea-bargain such charges down to manslaughter, or even lesser crimes.
The measure now goes to Mayor Muriel Bowser for her expected signature. However it still must pass muster in Congress, which has final jurisdiction over legislation in the district.
Finally former South Bend, Indiana mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg will become the first openly queer member of a U.S. presidential cabinet – if he wins approval in the Senate. President-elect Joe Biden introduced “Mayor Pete” as the next Secretary of Transportation on December 15th. Buttigieg is expected to play a key role in Biden’s push for bipartisan infrastructure funding. Observers note that the job will also give Buttigieg first-time-federal government experience that could bolster another presidential run.
Buttigieg mentioned his spouse Chasten more than once during his brief remarks, and acknowledged that:
[sound/BUTTIGIEG:] “… the eyes of history are on this appointment … this is the first time an American president has ever sent an openly LGBTQ cabinet member to the Senate for confirmation. … I can’t help but think of a 17-year-old somewhere who might be watching us right now. Somebody who wonders whether and where they belong in the world, or even in their own family. And I’m thinking about the message that today’s announcement is sending to them. So thank you, Mr. President-elect. Thank you for honoring your commitment to diversity with this administration that you are assembling.”
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