Senator Ted Cruz uses the Equality Act against U.S. Associate Attorney General nominee Vanita Gupta, as Senator Dick Durban referees!
A commercially-made queer T-shirt gives OutCasting Overtime’s Vivian some thoughts about how businesses can substantively support LGBTQ rights!
Remembering the 2016 return of out and Irish contingents to New York City’s famed St. Patrick’s Day Parade after a 25-year ban!
Ghanaian Parliament members announce bill to ban LGBTQ advocacy, Nigerian cops raid “suspected gay party,” new adoption laws threaten queer Panamanian and Polish parents, COVID-safe Sydney Mardi Gras eggs on thugs, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of March 15, 2021
Cruz Crosses Equality & Rainbow Capitalism!
Program #1,720 distributed 03/15/21
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Anti-queer crackdowns escalate in Ghana and continue in Nigeria … the governments of Panama and Poland each move to block any LGBTQ person or couple from adopting children … the European Parliament counters local Polish “LGBT Free Zones” with an E.U.-wide declaration that it’s an “LGBT Freedom Zone,” even as one Polish “LGBT Free Zone” denies entry to a proudly gay French government official … equally-homophobic Hungary’s right-wing government loses a small battle in the country’s Constitutional Court when Justices nix the retroactive aspect of the recently-enacted law denying trans people the right to change their legal gender on official documents … COVID-19 forces this year’s world-famous Sydney, Australia Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras off the streets and into “the round” (written by GREG GORDON and edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOE BOEHNLEIN and TANYA KANE-PARRY, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: Except for his time spent going to Cancun to escape his state’s deadly winter storm disaster, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been riding the culture war tide ever since he helped rally the violent January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. He brought that tactic to the confirmation proceedings for Vanita Gupta’s nomination to be Associate Attorney General. His weapon of choice was the Equality Act, the bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights law. Judicial Committee Chair Dick Durban (D-IL) tried to curb Cruz’ self-aggrandizing enthusiasm as Gupta tried to respond (with intro music by JIMMY CLIFF, and an outro music tag by LAUREN MAYER).
Feature: Traditionally huge St. Patrick’s Day Parades around the world are canceled due to COVID again this year, so we thought we’d join the many virtual celebrations with some New York City Irish pride from 2016 as reported by This Way Out’s Greg Gordon (featuring comments by former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, current Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, persistent Irish Queer activist Brendan Fay, and New York Mayor Bill De Blasio.
Feature: What’s in a T-shirt? Some insights into capitalism and community engagement from OutCasting Overtime’s VIVIAN (produced by MARC SOPHOS, with intro music by ALAN CUMMING).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending March 13, 2021 Written this week by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported by Joe Boehnlein and Tayna Kane-Parry, produced by Brian DeShazor
Official homophobia continues to escalate in Ghana this week, as eight Members of Parliament push a bill to make the “promotion” of queer rights a criminal offense.
The move comes on the heels of the closure of the Accra offices of LGBT+ Rights Ghana in late February. National security forces unexpectedly raided the fledgling group’s headquarters after it had been open less than a month. Publicity around that action aroused condemnation by anti-queer religious and political leaders.
The raid and closure also prompted global outrage, led by Brits of Ghanaian Descent, including actors Idris Elba and Naomi Campbell, and dozens of other celebrities, politicians, and human rights advocates. That only made Ghanaian government officials step up their anti-queer rhetoric.
The lead sponsor of this week’s “no homo promo” proposal is M.P. Samuel Nartey George of the opposition National Democratic Congress. He announced on Facebook that he and seven other MP’s would be presenting a Private Members Bill to, in his words, “ban the advocacy and act of homosexuality in all its current and future forms. We owe it to ourselves and the people of Ghana to uphold that which gives us our identity as a people. May we unite in this fight against the scourge and perversion that homosexuality presents. So help us GOD.” Same-gender sex is already punishable with up to 3 years in prison.
MP’s from a number of the West African nation’s political parties might support the “no promo homo” measure, according to Reuters.
However, Ghana’s current legislative session concludes at the end of March, so the clock may simply run out.
Nigeria is another homophobic West African hotspot. The latest police raid on a “suspected gay party” has been reported by local media in the state of Anambra. The number of detainees has yet to be confirmed. A source familiar with the operation told Nigeria’s Punch Newspapers that an anonymous tip led authorities to the hotel room. That account describes the partygoers “fleeing in all directions when the policemen arrived.” Those arrested were taken to the police station’s “anti-cult office … for investigation.” The anti-cult division was set up to combat violent campus confraternities.
Nigeria outlaws “making a public show of a same-sex relationship” and involvement in any LGBTQ organizations.
Some Nigerian states govern under strict Islamic law. Fortunately for the detainees, Anambra is not one of them. So while they may face jail time, there’s no public caning if they’re convicted.
Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria Henry Ndukuba has chimed in, calling homosexuality a “virus … that should be urgently and radically expunged,” according to Pink News.
Meanwhile, TIME reports that virulent homophobes have been invading a queer Nigerian invite-only drop-in audio chat app called Clubhouse, where users can access LGBTQ-supportive talks, discussions, and workshops.
People interviewed for the late February TIME story said they’d reported the anti-queer moderators through the app, with no response. TIME also said that their requests for comment on Clubhouse’s “community guidelines” went unanswered.
Panama’s National Assembly has approved reforms to the adoption system to specifically deny prospective LGBTQ parents. Article 22 of the bill states that only a man and a woman “united in marriage or a common law marriage for a minimum of two years” can adopt a child. Article 26 specifies again that the adopting couple must be “of different sex.”
A number of human rights organizations have signed on to an open letter by the Panamanian LGBTQ rights group Fundación Iguales calling on President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen to veto the two offending articles. The queer advocacy group’s President Iván Chanis Barahona told The Washington Blade that there are no gender-specific references in current adoption laws, and that the “reforms” violate international law. If Cortizo signs the bill with the two offending Articles intact, Chanis said it would be “a setback for human rights in the country.”
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has joined the chorus of global opposition to the blatantly discriminatory provisions. The Commission’s judicial branch is the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and it ruled in 2018 that same-gender civil marriage must be legalized by all members of the Organization of American States. Panama is one of them. Its government announced that it would comply with the decision, but has yet to take concrete steps to do so.
In Poland, they want to forbid even single LGBTQ people from adopting children. Current law limits adoption to married heterosexual couples or single people, but the notoriously anti-queer government announced a proposal this week that would also require vetting single applicants – just to be sure they are not living with a same-gender partner.
Polish President Andrzej Duda and other members of his ruling far-right Law and Justice Party have rebuffed intensifying criticism from other European Union member states. They insist that it’s a strictly domestic issue because LGBTQ rights threaten their country’s Roman Catholic culture.
More than a hundred city and regional governments across Poland have enacted measures rejecting “LGBT ideology” and declaring their areas “LGBT Free Zones.”
One such “LGBT Free Zone” rejected the proposed visit of France’s out minister for European affairs Clément Beaune this week. The snub was blamed on COVID-19, according to Pink News.
But as of this week, the entire European Union is declared an “LGBTIQ Freedom Zone.” The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to insist that “LGBTIQ rights are human rights.”
The resolution was offered by the E.U.’s LGBTI Intergroup. It denounces “growing hate speech by [Polish] public authorities [and] elected officials – including by the current President.”
That same European Parliament resolution noted that the basic human rights of LGBTQ people in neighboring Hungary are also being “severely hindered” by far-right President Viktor Orbán. He has a close relationship with Poland’s Duda.
But Orbán got a minor pushback this week. His administration had tried to deny changes of legal gender by all trans people who have already transitioned. The Constitutional Court ruled that the denial only applies to those who began transitioning after May 2020 when the blanket statute passed.
Hatter is one of Hungary’s leading LGBTQ rights groups. Spokesperson Tamas Dombos noted that lawsuits have already been filed to challenge the entire ban. He called the Court’s narrow 8-to-6 vote to reject the law’s retroactivity alone “encouraging.”
Finally, an “in the round” version of Sydney, Australia’s world famous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras conquered COVID-19 on March 6th. Some 36,000 people packed the Sydney Cricket Ground to cheer about 120 entries and five thousand parade participants as they circled the stadium track. Singer Rita Ora was the headline entertainer. The 43rd annual festivities were also nationally televised again.
Because the entire state of New South Wales had gone 48 days without a single reported coronavirus infection, facemasks and social distancing were not required. Agence France Presse called the circular procession a “tightly managed spectacle, filled with pyrotechnics, dazzling performances and speckled with corporate sponsors.” It replaced the usual parade on Oxford Street along Sydney’s main LGBTQ business hub. Health officials issued an exemption for a much smaller protest march along the usual parade route by those who wanted to remember Mardi Gras’ origins. It began with a violent police attack on peaceful Pride-goers in 1978. Several groups brought political messages to the Cricket Ground parade as well. Banners and chants called for transgender rights, sex worker rights, and an end to the deaths of indigenous Australians in police custody.
A number of homophobic assaults marred the celebration. Gay national TV crime reporter Mark Reddie became a victim himself. What he called “a car full of idiots” threw eggs at him and his friends in the early morning hours after the parade. Similar incidents were also reported in and around the Cricket Ground or in Sydney’s queer business area. Bottles as well as eggs were hurled at perceived-queer people. Police are investigating.
Soon after reporting the incident, Reddie tweeted that “gay hate crimes still exist,” but that, “If you think some eggs are going to rattle us … think again.”
© 2021 Overnight Productions (Inc.)
© 2021 Overnight Productions (Inc.)
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