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This Way Out Radio Episode #1714 February 2, 2021 “Uncle Sam Wants Trans!”

Transgender members of the U.S. military get the right to serve, and ACLU Deputy Director for Transgender Justice Chase Strangio explains how it opens the door to more queer advances (in an interview from “Democracy Now!”).

A “Rainbow Minute” chronicles how Dr. Tom Dooley won in Vietnam.

Honduran lawmakers block marriage equality, Singapore activists arrested as others go to court, Taiwan explores foreign queer marriage rights, gay men publicly whipped in Aceh, the EuroCourt sides with Romanian trans men, honored Australians protest Margaret Court’s award, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Michael LeBeau and Paula Thomas (produced by Brian DeShazor)!

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of February 1, 2021

Inaugural Jam & Memorial Gem!

Program #1,714 distributed 02/01/21

Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Honduran lawmakers make it more difficult to undo constitutional bans on marriage equality and abortion … three Singapore activists are arrested at an unauthorized protest over trans student rights and three others file yet another challenge to the laws against consensual adult gay sex … Taiwan’s government takes the first step toward allowing bi-national same-gender couples to marry … two gay men are the latest victims of caning in the public square in the Indonesian province of Aceh … the European Court of Human Rights finds Romania’s government guilty of having an “unclear” framework that did not allow two trans men to change their official gender designations without having undergone gender reassignment surgery … the new U.S. Biden administration’s Justice Department reverses a Trump “parting shot” that limited the Supreme Court ruling protecting LGBTQ people from job bias … several notables return their Australia Day Honors to protest obnoxiously anti-queer former tennis star-turned Pentecostal minister Margaret Court receiving the country’s highest civilian award … you now have the chance to name the second chick successfully hatched by famed Sydney Sea Life Aquarium gay penguin couple Sphen and Magic (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MICHAEL LEBEAU and PAULA THOMAS, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).

Feature: Vietnam-era U.S. Navy doctor Tom Dooley Sails To Infamy in a Rainbow Minute (read by DAN ROBERTS, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).

Feature: Signing one of the two dozen Executive Orders during his first two weeks in office, on January 25th U.S. President Joe Biden rescinded his predecessor’s tweeted July 2017 ban on transgender people serving in the military.  Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Transgender Justice with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, joined AMY GOODMAN and JUAN GONZÁLEZ on Democracy Now! to discuss the significance of Biden’s action, as well as troubling anti-trans bills in the U.S. states of South Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma and Alabama, and a pro-active move by its governor to fight trans-inclusive femicide in Puerto Rico (with intro music by JAMES CORDEN from his CBS-TV Late Late Show).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending January 30, 2021
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Michael LeBeau and Paula Thomasproduced by Brian DeShazor

The Honduran legislature has voted to make it more difficult to undo constitutional bans on marriage equality and abortion.  Amendments to the country’s constitution in 2005 banned civil marriage and adoption rights for same-gender couples. They also denied recognition to same-gender unions legally contracted in other countries.  The vote on January 28th upped the threshold for amending the constitution from a two-thirds majority to three-quarters. The same super-majority will be needed to change the strict ban on abortion.  Current law punishes a woman who terminates a pregnancy and anyone who helps her with up to 6 years in prison.

The Roman Catholic Church has considerable political influence in the conservative country. Leading Honduran activist Kevin Ramos told Reuters that, “this reform is the product of a state-imposed religion.”

Cristian González Cabrera is a Human Rights Watch researcher for Latin America and the Caribbean. He criticized “state sponsored homophobia” while many of the country’s Central American neighbors are advancing equality.  Cabrera told Out magazine that, “Honduras’s draconian laws already prohibit abortion and marriage equality, so the reform attempts to prohibit future lawmakers from reconsidering the issue[s].”

The vote in the legislature this week was 88 in favor, 28 opposed, and seven abstaining.  According to Reuters, final passage requires a second vote next year.

Three trans-supportive Singapore activists were arrested, just as three others were launching another challenge to laws banning consensual adult gay sex.

The arrests came late this week at a small public demonstration protesting the Education Ministry’s refusal to allow a transgender student to get hormone therapy. Ministry officials have denied the charge. Agence France Presse reports that three protesters ranging in age from 19 to 32 were arrested for participating in a public assembly without a permit, and for ignoring warnings to disband. Public gatherings in the Asian city-state are generally not allowed without a police permit, no matter the size of the crowd. They’re not often granted.

Twenty-three-year-old organizer Averyn Thng was not arrested in the tiny protest.  She told the French news agency that, “LGBTQ students in school aren’t treated well.”  She described strict “gender norm” requirements dictating student clothing and hairstyles.  Thng added that, “The government doesn’t see us as important enough to be protected.” Those arrested are all out on bail for the time being.

Meanwhile, three other Singapore activists renewed their challenges to the ban on gay sex.  A retired doctor, a popular DJ, and a veteran rights activist filed separate cases that were dismissed in a consolidated ruling of the High Court last year.  The three filed a joint challenge to that decision this week in the Court of Appeal.

An effort to overturn the law failed in 2014.  Officials say that it’s innocuous because it’s rarely enforced.

Taiwan would recognize legally contracted marriages of same gender couples from nearly every country in the world under a draft resolution approved this week. The exception would be couples with one partner from China, according to the Central News Agency.  Those couples would be subject to separate laws governing Taiwan-China relations.  However one of the partners can be from Hong Kong or Macau, according to the Judicial Yuan. The judicial branch of Taiwan’s government approved the draft resolution on January 22nd.

A 2017 ruling by Taiwan’s Constitutional Court gave lawmakers two years to open civil marriage to Taiwanese same-gender couples, which they did in 2019.

The draft resolution extending marriage equality to most bi-national same-gender couples will be sent to the Executive Yuan.  The two government branches are then expected to jointly submit the proposal to the Legislative Yuan for its consideration.

Gay men were caned in the public square again in the Indonesian province of Aceh.  Aceh’s long-running separatist movement reached a settlement with the Indonesian federal government in 2015 that allows the province to govern under sharia, or strict Islamic law.

Two men in their late 20’s were arrested in November. Suspicious neighbors broke into their rented room and allegedly caught them having sex, according to the province’s Acting Sharia Police Chief.  They were each sentenced to 80 strokes of the cane the following month. The punishment was reduced to 77 lashes considering time served in prison.  Five hooded enforcers took turns administering the painful strokes of a rattan cane across the back.

Sharia also punishes drinking alcohol and extra-marital sex as moral offenses with up to 100 lashes. Other such criminals include gamblers, women who wear tight clothes, and men who skip Friday prayers.

One particularly concerning report says that police are investigating other men in the couple’s social media contact lists.

Despite having a supposedly secular government, Indonesian officials have stepped up anti-queer rhetoric in recent years.  A U.S. lesbian couple was deported in mid-January after one of them posted a message on social media calling Bali “queer friendly.”

The European Court of Human Rights has sided with two Romanian trans men who were not allowed to change the gender designation on their legal documents without first having reassignment surgery. Each man had applied to their government more than six years ago to amend their gender identity in civil-status records, but courts refused to grant their request without proof that they had undergone the surgery.

The European Court noted in late January that Romanian courts have granted identity changes for other trans people who had not had surgery. It described the Eastern European nation’s legal framework around gender as “unclear and therefore unforeseeable.”

Each plaintiff was awarded the equivalent of more than 11,000 U.S. dollars by the Euro-Court in pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages for their emotional turmoil, which was worsened by Romania’s arduous years-long court system.

In the U.S., President Joe Biden’s temporary head of the Justice Department Civil Rights Division revoked an anti-queer “parting shot” by a Trump appointee. The eleventh hour 22-page memorandum claimed limitations on the June 2020 Supreme Court ruling affirming federal job rights protections for LGBTQ people.  Greg Friel says that those assertions contradicted Biden’s first-day Executive Order affirming that high court ruling. It states that the Biden-Harris administration would fight all discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

One of the first acts of the new Biden administration was a presidential Executive Order reversing Trump’s ban on military service by qualified transgender people.  We’ll have expanded coverage and analysis of that significant action later on many of these same This Way Out stations.

An elevated Australia Day Honor for controversial tennis champion turned evangelist Margaret Court has drawn fire from LGBTQ activists and their allies.  Court has been named a Companion of the Order of Australia, the country’s highest civilian award.  She was first honored as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2007.

The retired tennis player became a Pentecostal minister in 1995, and an outspoken opponent of LGBTQ people’s very right to exist.  She’s compared gay people to Nazis, claimed that lesbian tennis players “recruit” younger athletes, and described transgender children as being “of the devil.”  She ignored COVID-19 restrictions and held services even at the height of the pandemic in Australia, claiming that “the blood of Jesus” would protect her and her congregation.

Needless to say, Court has a number of high-profile detractors.  Medical professor Caroline de Costa returned the Order of Australia award she was given in 2014 in protest.  She also happens to be the mother of a gay son. Explaining her reason in an open letter, de Costa called Court’s words “harmful and damaging to a large proportion of my fellow Australians.”

The growing list of well-known figures who’ve also returned their Australia Day Honors includes celebrated transgender doctor Clara Tuck Meng Soo, artist Peter Kingston, former Counsul-General to Bali Brent Hall, veteran journalist Kerry O’Brien, and Reverend Alistair Mcrae, former president of the Uniting Church of Australia.  As he starkly explained: “bad theology kills people.”

Finally, male gentoo penguin couple Sphen and Magic are back in the news. The queer seabirds became world famous in 2018 after zookeepers at Sydney’s Sea Life Aquarium noticed them attempting to hatch a rock, and gave them an egg rejected by another penguin to care for.  They successfully hatched and raised their first chick, which zookeepers named Lara.

Sphen and Magic recently hatched a second check, who’s doing well, and Penguin Supervisor Kerrie Dixon says it “needs a name.”  To celebrate Penguin Awareness Day on January 20th, he wanted to “give Sphen and Magic fans around the world the chance to name their second chick.”

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© 2021 Overnight Productions (Inc.)

© 2021 Overnight Productions (Inc.)

 “Satisfying your weekly minimum requirement of queer news and culture for more than 30 years!”


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