U.S. President Joe Biden sends a message of support on Trans Visibility Day, even as state legislatures torpedo trans rights.
An OutCasting Overtime youth commentator talks about middle school bullying, and the intervention of a supportive teacher.
How Frank Kameny turned the tables on J. Edgar Hoover in a Rainbow Minute.
And in NewsWrap: Ghana activists fight online as anti-queer raid nets 22, Arkansas bans trans treatment for minors, Uniting Church names Australia’s first trans pastor, Ireland’s gay Deputy P.M. gets “credible” death threats, the “China Southern Cabin Boy” sues for back pay, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of April 12, 2021
Biden Plus Trans & School Less Bullies!
Program #1,724 distributed 04/12/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Ghana’s fledgling activism defiantly blossoms online as the latest anti-queer police raid nets 22 people at an alleged “lesbian wedding” … Arkansas leads Republican-dominated U.S. state legislatures in bills to curb the rights of transgender young people even as corporate America begins to pushback on those efforts … a Uniting Church congregation in Sydney becomes the first mainstream Christian denomination in Australia with a transgender leader, Rev. Josephine “Jo” Inkpin … homophobic death threats force heightened security to protect Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and his husband Matthew Barrett … Cork residents Geraldine Rea and Niamh O’Sullivan become the Emerald Isle’s first queer couple to both be listed as the legal parent on their children’s birth certificates … gay China Southern flight attendant Chai Cheng is activated after being fired for a passionate viral kiss they thought was private with a pilot who works for the same airline … no charges will be filed against Black queer Georgia State Representative Park Cannon, who was roughly arrested on March 25th for knocking on the governor’s door as he was privately signing one of the first draconian voter suppression bills in Republican-dominated U.S. state legislatures (written by GREG GORDON and edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MELANIE KELLER and JOE BOEHNLEIN, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: A sitting President of the United States has never made such an appearance. When the National Center For Transgender Equality held its virtual Trans Equality Now Awards on March 31st, the highlight of the gala was a video message of support from Joe Biden. The historic event marked the Trans Day of Visibility.
AMY GOODMAN and JUAN GONZALEZ of Democracy Now! have been tracking anti-transgender legislation and hate violence. In these excerpts, they discuss the terrible trend with trans advocates Raquel Willis and Chase Strangio (with transition music by SLY & THE FAMILY STONE).
Feature: Trailblazing activist Frank Kameny turns the tables when FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover Gets The Gazette in this Rainbow Minute (read by VAUGHAN GARY, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).
Feature: LGBTQ youth face a high risk of being bullied. For OutCasting Overtime’s JUSTIN, the issue is personal (introduced by “Outcaster” ISHA, produced by MARC SOPHOS, and with TWO-added intro/outro music by VALENTINA KAMENOV).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending April 10, 2021 Written this week by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported by Melanie Keller and Joe Boehnlein, produced by Brian DeShazor
Activists in Ghana are stepping up their resistance to an escalating anti-queer crackdown by turning to social media for support. That’s how they’ve been organizing since February, when police and national security forces shuttered the offices of the fledgling advocacy group LGBT+ Rights Ghana in the capital city of Accra.
The most recent outrage was the arrest of 22 people in late March at what Ghana Police Force officials claimed was a “lesbian wedding.” Guests insisted that it was just a birthday party. The police subsequently admitted as much, but charged the detainees with violating COVID-19 protocols. Failure to observe social distancing guidelines has been a common “rationale” for police raids on suspected queer gatherings in other repressive countries as well.
A Ghanaian police official told local media that he was cooperating with local religious leaders who want to “cleanse” the party property. He said that the homeowners would also be brought in for questioning.
President Nana Akufo-Addo insists that civil marriage will never be opened to same-gender couples in Ghana as long as he leads the predominantly Christian West African nation. Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin rejected an urgent request from Australian envoy Andrew Barnes this week to stop the anti-queer campaign. Bagbin told Barnes that LGBTQ people are “something that we see as an abomination.”
Private consensual adult same-gender sex is already punishable in Ghana by up to three years in prison. At least 30 MP’s have formed a group called Believers Against LGBTQI+ to push for more oppressive laws — even making it a crime to advocate for queer rights.
LGBT+ Rights Ghana has defiantly launched a fundraising campaign to help re-open their Accra offices. The online campaign #GhanaGetsBetter encourages supporters to add the color red to their social media profiles as a show of solidarity.
Arkansas is leading the rampant attack in Republican-controlled U.S. state legislatures on transgender people – especially trans young people.
Lawmakers in the southern state overrode Governor Asa Hutchinson’s veto this week of a bill that makes it a crime for healthcare professionals to offer gender-affirming care for transgender teens.
The ban was opposed by several medical and child welfare groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s set to take effect in July, but the American Civil Liberties Union says it will sue to stop that from happening.
Republican Governor Hutchinson did sign a bill in March that prohibits transgender girls and women from competing in school sports. Other bills in Arkansas’ pipeline include one to let teachers disregard a student’s gender identity and address them by the name or pronoun on their birth certificate. Another bill filed this week puts a new wrinkle on those infamous anti-trans “bathroom bills.” It would allow someone to sue government entities that permit people to use gender-segregated public facilities that conform to their gender identity.
Queer and human rights groups are expected to challenge each and every anti-trans measure that Republicans are passing in several state legislatures that they control.
Corporate America is starting to take a stand, too. Executives from global candy-maker Mars, Inc., food and drink conglomerates Nestlé USA and Danone North America, and the multi-national home products company Unilever signed on to an open letter criticizing the anti-trans bills, published this week in USA Today. Their vow: to “support an environment in which all people can grow, thrive, compete and succeed as their true, authentic selves.”
Tom Walton is the grandson of Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton. In a statement issued by the Walton Family Foundation this week, he said, “We are alarmed by the string of [policies] targeting LGBTQ people in Arkansas. … Any policy that limits individual opportunity also limits our state’s potential.” Walmart is headquartered in Arkansas and employs more than two million people worldwide.
Sydney’s Pitt Street Uniting Church has a new leader: Reverend Josephine “Jo” Inkpin. She’s the first transgender person to lead a mainstream church in Australia.
The history-maker and her wife Reverend Penny Jones moved from England to the Land Down Under twenty years ago for the health of their twin daughters. She served the Anglican Church Southern Queensland until 2017, then moved to the more progressive Uniting Church, where she said she was able to fully be her true self. She was appointed to the Pitt Street Church in mid-March.
Reverend Inkpin marked the Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31st by acknowledging that her own path to self-acceptance was a bumpy one. She said, “People who are on the margins have to stand up and have to find the visibility, and that is very, very hard to do. To see ourselves represented in public space is really huge.”
Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and his husband Matthew Barrett are under increased security protection after receiving “credible” death threats. The homophobic threats on the proudly out couple followed the graffiti painting of their home address on a wall in Belfast in Northern Ireland. The stepped-up security includes a 24/7-armed police detail and a protective driver. That’s reportedly a larger security detail than what’s routinely provided to the Prime Minister.
A friend and member of Varadkar’s Fine Gael Party told the Sunday Independent that “It’s not nice for him or his partner Matt. But he’s getting on with it and has great faith in the guards.”
Contrary to several reports, Varadkar and Barrett were never forced to move out of their Dublin home.
In more encouraging news from the Emerald Isle, a lesbian couple has become the first same-gender couple there to both be legally recognized as the parents of their children. Geraldine Rea gave birth to twin girls in Cork less than two months ago through a fertility clinic. Her spouse Niamh O’Sullivan told RTE News that being listed as co-parent on their daughters’ birth certificates was “amazing.”
Rea appreciates not having to spend the money and time to go to court to achieve co-parent status for O’Sullivan, and said that it “… makes it that little bit easier for us and for everyone else to come.”
O’Sullivan agreed, “Finally it’s a bit of equality.”
A gay China Southern Airlines flight attendant and a male pilot … both off duty … they thought the apartment elevator was private. But their passionate kiss was caught on a security camera … the footage was leaked, and it promptly went viral. 29-year-old Chai Cheng became known online as the “China Southern Cabin Boy.” It was no surprise that the state-owned airline refused to renew the five-year employee’s contract. However the unnamed pilot was not fired, probably because of the substantial investment China Southern would have put into his training.
Newborn activist Chai is not going quietly. He sued the airline for back pay in November, and is awaiting the verdict. Forced to move into another industry, Chai told CNN, “I gave up a career that I’ve felt passionate about since childhood. But … [w]hether it’s to improve the laws, protect our rights, or promote social equality and openness … someone needs to push it forward.”
Finally, charges have been dropped against out, Black Georgia state Representative Park Cannon. Park’s arrest and forcible removal from the state capitol building in Atlanta for, literally, knocking on the governor’s door went viral a few weeks ago. On March 25th Governor Brian Kemp was signing into law one of the first draconian bills now being pushed in Republican-dominated state legislatures that restrict voting rights — laws especially targeting people of color and younger voters in urban areas.
Cannon was charged with felony obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting government business, and faced several years in prison. But Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has bigger fish to fry – she’s currently investigating Donald Trump’s infamous phone calls and other attempts to overturn the election results that gave the state to Joe Biden in last November’s presidential elections.
Willis decided that prosecution was not warranted just because, in her words, “some … may have found [Cannon’s] behavior annoying.”
Cannon’s celebratory tweet said, “Doors of injustice are everywhere, and we cannot stop knocking.”
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