The U.S. state lawmakers currently attacking LGBTQ rights should remember the fiasco in North Carolina, like we do in a report from March, 2016!
Potty Mouth, KOJI, Solstice Rey and Full On Mone’t create the soon-to-be-released “Sunday, Someday” (Steve Sims with “Queer Music Focus”)!
Go “Over the Rainbow” in a “Rainbow Minute”!
Lesbian journalist Rachel Maddow pulls cable news’ biggest audience!
And in NewsWrap: queer parents welcomed by U.S.-based evangelical adoption agency, Polish women acquitted of “rainbow Mary” charges, Mexican beach-goers rescue gay kissers from Quintana Roo cops, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of March 8, 2021
U.S. House Boards Equality Train!
Program #1,719 distributed 03/08/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): An epidemic of anti-queer bills infecting more than half of Republican-controlled state legislatures in the U.S., most of them targeting trans youth, includes Idaho, Mississippi, North and South Dakota, Alabama, Tennessee, Montana, Utah, and Wisconsin … the Michigan-based Bethany Christian Services, the largest evangelical Protestant fostering and adoption agency in the U.S. with offices in more than a dozen other countries, puts out the welcome mat for queer applicants … a Chinese court rejects the challenge to a college mental health textbook that calls homosexuality a “psychological disorder” … three Polish women are acquitted of “offending religious feelings” for putting up posters and stickers in the city of Plock with images of a rainbow-haloed Virgin Mary … a number of prominent figures, including actors Idris Elba and Naomi Campbell, sign on to an open letter protesting the Ghanaian government for forcibly shuttering the offices of an LGBTQ advocacy group in Accra, with the co-founder of U.K. Black Pride and Black Lives Matter U.K. issuing their own condemnations … and heavily-armed security police in the Mexican beach resort of Tulum in the state of Quintana Roo who arrested and handcuffed a gay male couple for kissing, were probably not expecting the angry reaction of other beach-goers [with on-scene sound] (written by GREG GORDON and edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by PAULA THOMAS and JOHN DYER V, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: The U.S. cable television galaxy is bright with star queer news commentators, like Shepard Smith on CNBC, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon and Suzanne Malveaux on CNN, and Steve Kornaki, Jonathan Capehart and Joshua Johnson on MSNBC. But none of these stars shine like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. With typical blushing humility on her March 2nd program, the proudly lesbian commentator confirmed her celestial status (with Cole Porter intro music performed by JOHN BARROWMAN).
Feature: Republicans in state legislatures across the U.S. are taking their politics back to the toilet with a slew of transphobic measures. You’d think they would’ve learned a lesson from North Carolina. That’s where the first state law that included prohibiting trans people from using public accommodations in line with their gender identity created a backlash that shifted power to the Democrats. Although that “bathroom bill” ultimately did not survive, similar proposals to restrict queer civil rights now carry the same dangerous implications. So let us learn the lessons from This Way Out’s coverage of the North Carolina’s battle over bias, as reported by our LUCIA CHAPPELLE five years ago this month (with comments by Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holder, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, and a faux commercial for North Carolina Tourism by Funny Or Die.
Feature: This Rainbow Minute (with music by JUDY GARLAND added) goes Over The Rainbow (read by MICHAEL SIMPSON, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).
Feature: Many things in our world have changed dramatically in the last year, including how musicians gather to create. This Way Out Queer Music Focus producer STEPHEN SIMS delves into the results of one such alternative, a fund-raising collaboration called Sunday, Someday, to be released on March 26th by the queer indy label Get Better Records, and featuring Potty Mouth, Koji, Solstice Rey, and Full On Mone’t (with bonus music from Nervus).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending March 6, 2021 Written by Lucia Chappelle,reported this week by Paula Thomas and John Dyer V,produced by Brian DeShazor
Queer suppression is going hand-in-hand with voter suppression efforts in Republican-led U.S. state legislatures. While the alarming attacks on democracy get national media attention, transgender young people are specifically targeted in many new anti-LGBTQ bills – and there are dozens of them.
At least 35 bills that ban transgender students from participating in extracurricular sports have been tallied by The Hill. They count 25 other bills that would deny gender-affirming medical care to trans teens. In some bills, doctors who perform such medical care can be criminally prosecuted. So can parents who approve it.
Idaho passed a bill banning trans students from competing in sports in 2020. A federal judge has blocked the bill from being enforced while a legal challenge proceeds. White House Press Secretary Jan Psaki reaffirmed President Biden’s Executive Order banning anti-LGBTQ bias in the workplace and most other areas of life this week. She pointedly said that any bills passed at the state level to discriminate against LGBTQ people are flatly illegal.
Republican-controlled state legislatures in Mississippi and South Dakota have already sent anti-queer bills to their governors. Mississippi’s law would prevent transgender girls from competing in school sports, and Republican Governor Tate Reeves is expected to sign it soon. South Dakota’s law is a so-called “religious liberty” measure that would open the door to anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Pro-Trump Republican Governor Kristi Noem is expected to sign that one.
However, a bill passed in the South Dakota House to ban trans girls from competing against cis girls in school sports was killed in a state Senate committee.
Alabama’s Senate passed a bill this week that would deny gender-affirming medical care to any transgender person in the state under the age of 19. That would include hormone treatments or puberty blockers, as well as gender-affirming surgery. Trans activist Marie Willa posted an emotional video warning on TikTok urging parents of trans kids to “get your children to safety” in another state. She said that the bill’s passage would “drive the suicide rate up just astronomically high.”
The Tennessee Senate passed a ban on trans youth competing in middle and high school sports this week. It’s not clear when the measure will be considered by the state House. Republican Governor Bill Lee seems likely to sign the bill if it reaches his desk, since he’s said that, “transgenders participating in women’s sports will destroy women’s sports.”
Similar measures to ban trans athletes have already passed one legislative chamber in North and South Dakota, Montana, and Utah. Another anti-trans-in-sports measure was introduced this week in the Wisconsin House. The Montana Senate also advanced a bill that would allow “faith-based” discrimination against LGBTQ people.
The largest Protestant evangelical adoption and fostering agency in the U.S. announced this week that all of its offices will now welcome same-gender couples. Bethany Christian Services CEO and President Chris Palusky advised more than 1500 staff members in an email that, “We will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world today. … We’re taking an ‘all hands on deck’ approach where all are welcome.” Bethany’s Board unanimously approved the policy change in January.
Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Christian services agency operates in 32 U.S. states and more than a dozen other countries. It’s been on an evolving journey to welcoming queer couples as prospective foster or adoptive parents over the past few years. Bethany has allowed local offices in the U.S. to accept LGBTQ applicants where there are local or state anti-discrimination laws. When Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services adoption agency brought a high-profile “religious liberty” suit, Bethany yielded to the law.
Bethany’s Nathan Bult told the New York Times that, “it became really untenable to have this patchwork of practices. … Bethany was ready, and Christians are ready. … Christians of mutual good faith can reasonably disagree on various doctrinal issues.”
A court in China’s eastern Jiangsu province has rejected a student’s challenge to the use of a textbook describing homosexuality as a “psychological disorder.”
A district court in the city of Suqian decided that that description is just a matter of “perceptual differences” and not a factual error, according to a copy of the ruling seen by Reuters reporters. The February 9th ruling upheld an earlier September 2020 decision.
Under the pseudonym “XiXi,” the plaintiff complained that “they didn’t even have a trial, they just handed down the judgment.” The 24-year-old NGO worker said that she only learned about the ruling through her lawyer on February 22nd.
“XiXi” sued Jinan University Press in 2017 over its continued use of the 2013 Mental Health Education for College Students textbook. She said that it “classifies homosexuality as a psychological disorder, which it isn’t.”
Same-gender sex was decriminalized in China in 1997. The Chinese Psychiatric Association removed its description of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 2001.
Ah Qiang works with the Guangzhou-based NGO P-FLAG, a peer support group for parents and friends of LGBTQ people. He told the South China Morning Post that, “the editor of the textbook apparently used viewpoints that do not match society’s perception of sexual minorities today.” Qiang compared the book’s characterization of homosexuality to the belief that the sun resolves around the earth.
In an unusual multi-colored ray of light out of Poland this week, three women have been acquitted of “offending religious feelings” for posters adding a rainbow halo to the Virgin Mary. Had they been convicted, they would have been sent to prison for up to two years.
The “offense” occurred in April 2019. The women put up posters and stickers of the rainbow haloed-Virgin Mary around the city of Plock to protest what one of them called the “exclusion of LGBT people from society.” They used the image from “Our Lady of Czestochowa,” a painting revered by many Polish Roman Catholics.
Local news reports quoted the judge as saying that “The activists’ activities were provocative, but aimed at drawing attention to the homophobic and harmful décor in the church in Plock. … Their actions were aimed at protecting people who were discriminated against.” He also cited several letters from Roman Catholics who said that they were not offended by the rainbow halo image.
The heavily Roman Catholic country has been roiled by repeated anti-queer rants by narrowly reelected President Andrzej Duda, and legislation in dozens of municipalities declaring that they are “LGBT-Free Zones.” At least six of those towns have lost “sister city” funding from European Union-member states.
The government of Ghana has come under increasing fire around the world for forcing the offices of an LGBTQ Rights group in Accra to close. An open letter penned by Brits of Ghanaian heritage condemning the action as been signed by actors Idris Elba and Naomi Campbell, British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful, architect Sir David Adjaye, and former Labour Party Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott. U.K. Black Pride co-founder Phyllis “Lady Phyll” Akua Opoku-Gyimah called it “un-African.” Black Lives Matter U.K. issued a supportive statement that “We stand with all oppressed queer and transgender people across Africa and the world.”
Ghanaian government officials reacted defiantly by vowing to further curb LGBTQ activities and groups. Private consensual adult same-gender sex is prosecuted as “unnatural carnal knowledge,” and there are no laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in the West African nation. President Nana Akufo-Addo insists that queer couples will never get legal recognition as long as he heads the government.
Finally, security police in the Mexican beach resort of Tulum in the state of Quintana Roo tried to arrest a gay male couple this week for kissing. The cops were no doubt shocked at the unexpected reaction of other beach-goers.
[on-scene sound begins and fades under …]
A video getting lots of views on Facebook shows heavily armed men handcuffing the two speedo-clad men and forcing them onto an open-roof ATV. A large crowd gathers around the vehicle, and their attitude toward the arrests is quite evident in this audio excerpt:
A police spokesman said that they were responding to a citizen complaint, and denied that homophobia motivated the arrests. He claimed that the men were detained for “immoral acts in a public place.”
Members of the crowd shared their own stories of the incident online, and all said they witnessed kissing, nothing more. “They were not committing any crime,” wrote one fellow beach-goer.
The increasingly angry crowd would not relent and the two men were freed from their handcuffs and kissed any charges goodbye.
© 2021 Overnight Productions (Inc.)
© 2021 Overnight Productions (Inc.)
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