Transgender 10-year-old Kai Shappley and mother of a trans son Amber Briggle, speak before a hearing in the Texas state Senate about the havoc proposed laws banning gender-affirming medical treatment would wreak in their lives!
We remember the retreat of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ten years ago this month!
Anti-queer thugs kill a Ugandan trans man in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp, the U.K. LGBT Advisory Panel dissolves as some members resign and the rest are termed-out, U.S. state bills batter trans youth, Shelton to take Aussie hate the extra Nile, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of April 19, 2021
Trans Testimony & Troop Turnarounds!
Program #1,725 distributed 04/19/21
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): The latest victim of hate-fueled violence in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp, proud Ugandan trans-man Chriton “Trinidad Jerry” Atuhwera, dies from secondary burns sustained when anti-queer thugs fire-bombed his sleeping quarters … the U.K.’s LGBT Advisory Panel falls apart over the alleged resistance to progress of Boris Johnson’s Tory government right before the scheduled terms of its 12 members expire … the latest anti-queer bills advanced by Republican-controlled U.S. state legislatures include “disappearing” LGBTQ people from classroom education, and banning trans competitors in school sports … the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) warns that U.S. states enacting discriminatory anti-trans laws risk losing the chance to host major tournaments in their state … Australia’s decades-long leading “faith-based” homophobe Fred Nile announces his pending retirement from politics at the age of 86 and passes the anti-equality torch to the at least equally anti-queer former leader of the Australian Christian Lobby Lyle Shelton … U.S. President Joe Biden nominates gay married Tucson, Arizona Police Chief Chris Magnus, famously photographed in uniform as Richmond, California’s Police Chief in 2014 with a Black Lives Matter poster at a rally protesting the police shooting death in Ferguson, Missouri of African-American young man Michael Brown, to lead the nation’s largest (and controversial) law enforcement agency, Customs and Border Protection (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOHN DYER V and PAULA THOMAS, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).
Feature: To honor Earth Day this week, we’re sharing three Rainbow Minutes on the life and contributions of a trailblazing queer environmentalist. The first: The Heroine Of Earth Day, Rachel Carson (read by CLAUDIA C. SWANSON, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).
Feature: The U.S. military’s new policy lifting the ban on transgender service members takes effect at the end of April. Ten years ago this month, the Pentagon was figuring out how to end its Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ban on the non-trans queer community … a process that for some was going too well, as LUCIA CHAPPELLE reported here in April of 2011 (with intro music by GRAHAM NASH and outro music by NSYNC).
Feature: Rachel Carson’s Letters are revealed in this second of this week’s three Rainbow Minutes (read by PAT FISHBACK, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).
Feature: Of all the anti-trans bills moving through U.S. state legislatures at the moment, proposals in the Texas House and Senate are the cruelest. They would strip the licenses of doctors who provide gender-affirming treatment to transgender children. They would also classify trans-supportive parents as child abusers, threatened with fines, imprisonment and removal of the child. A child (10-year-old Kai Shappley) and a parent (Amber Briggle) explained to the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs this week what those laws would mean to them (with music by NAMOLI BRENNET and AIMEE ZIMMERMANN).
Feature: In the third of this week’s three Rainbow Minutes in observance of April 22nd’s Earth Day, Environmentalist Rachel Carson Is Remembered, read by MARY GAY HUTCHERSON, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending April 17, 2021 Written this week by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported by John Dyer V and Paula Thomas, produced by Brian DeShazor
A young Ugandan trans man in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp died this week from injuries he sustained in the latest attack on perceived sexual/gender minorities. Chriton “Trinidad Jerry” Atuhwera was among the victims when anti-queer thugs fire-bombed their sleeping quarters on March 15th. Many LGBTQ people have lived for years in the camp’s Block 13 because of recurring anti-queer attacks by other refugees. Most fled neighboring Uganda when legislators proposed the death penalty for consensual adult gay sex.
Fellow queer refugees called Atuhwera “a proud trans man,” an accomplished poet, and an admired leader. Hospital officials said he had underlying health conditions that may have made it difficult for him to survive his second-degree burns.
The camp is co-managed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Kenyan government, and its Department of Refugee Affairs. According to a press release from the U.N. agency, Jordan Ayesigye also sustained second-degree burns in the attack. He “is recovering and is expected to be discharged soon.” A High Commission official told Reuters this week that additional security will be sent to protect the camp’s queer refugees.
Even though Kenya punishes gay sex with up to 14 years in prison, the U.N. press release noted that the East African nation “remains the only country in the region to provide asylum to those fleeing persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.”
Emmanuel Kiyimba is a gay Ugandan living in the camp. He told Pink News that refugees perceived to be queer are threatened or pelted with rocks or other objects on an almost-daily basis. He described how many shop owners in the camp refuse to sell food or other necessities to them because they “think that … we will leave a curse.” Kiyimba said, “We never thought all would end like this. We came to Kenya seeking protection, but we are perishing.”
The Australian advocacy group Humanity in Need has set up a GoFundMe page to funnel financial support to Block 13 residents.
The U.K. government’s LGBT Advisory Panel is no more. It was set up during the tenure of previous Prime Minister Theresa May to advise the government and ministers on “issues and policies concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.” Current P.M. Boris Johnson’s administration has long been under fire for dragging its feet on a promised ban on conversion therapy, the medically discredited claim that queer people can be “cured.” Three members of the 12-member panel resigned last week over what they called the failure of Johnson’s Conservative government to take pro-active actions in support of LGBTQ people.
Queer evangelical Panel member Jayne Ozanne blamed her departure on a “hostile environment for LGBT+ people among this administration.” In their resignation statements, members James Morton and Ellen Murray each cited the government’s failure to advance the lives of transgender people in particular.
Nancy Kelley is CEO of Britain’s leading advocacy group, Stonewall. Kelley remained on the Panel because, in her words, “many of the key commitments from the ‘LGBT Action Plan’ [initiated during the May administration] remain incomplete.”
A government spokesperson told the BBC that a decision had already been made to disband the Panel when the terms of the current members expired on March 31st. Without any specifics, they claimed that a replacement panel of some sort “will be set out in due course.”
Attacks on the lives of transgender young, their medical caretakers and even their parents continue unabated in a number of U.S. state legislatures. Some measures either ban LGBTQ-inclusive classroom instruction or require parental consent in advance. Republican governors in Arizona and North Dakota are expected to sign those soon, and similar bills are working their way through the Republican-dominated Idaho, Montana, Missouri and Tennessee legislatures. University of Tennessee Associate Psychology Professor Patrick R. Grzanka warned in a Tennessean op-ed that his state’s bill would “erase LGBT people and issues from public school curricula completely, scrubbing them from human civilization.”
Tennessee, along with Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota and Idaho already ban trans athletes from competing in school sports. Some of those restrictions cover middle and high school through college. Republican lawmakers in Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, West Virginia and North Dakota have also jumped on that bandwagon. Civil and queer rights groups will certainly take all of these anti-trans laws to court.
The state of Texas bottoms the barrel of offensive assaults on transgender young people by Republican lawmakers. The state Senate heard testimony this week on bills that would not only deny trans young people appropriate medical care, they would also criminalize supportive parents. More on that story later [brief audio excerpt] – wherever you hear This Way Out.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has thrown down the gauntlet against states that enact laws banning transgender competitors in school sports. The Governors of the NCAA issued a warning this week that those states risk the loss of hosting opportunities for championship tournaments. In a press release issued on April 11th, the country’s collegiate sports authority affirmed that it “… firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. … This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition.”
The NCAA yanked seven championship events from North Carolina after it infamously passed its 2016 anti-trans “bathroom bill” and prevented cities from enacting ordinances banning anti-LGBTQ bias. So the Association’s threat may not be empty.
This week’s statement noted that, “When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.”
The A.C.L.U.’s Deputy Director for Trans Justice Chase Strangio also warned Republican lawmakers and governors that, “If you continue to pass these misguided laws state taxpayers risk not only costly litigation but the loss of revenue from these tournaments.”
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen of the National Center for Transgender Equality stressed that, “The harm is real and is felt very personally by transgender kids just trying to live their lives as who they really are.”
Ranking Australian homophobe Reverend Fred Nile announced his retirement from politics this week. The 86-year-old says he’ll step down in November.
Nile was first elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council in 1981 after founding the Christian Democratic Party. Its membership has dwindled considerably in recent years.
Nile has been a notoriously outspoken anti-queer hate-monger for decades, railing against any advance in LGBTQ equality or civil rights protections. His chosen successor is another familiar name in rightwing politics: conservative religious commentator Lyle Shelton, ex-leader of the Australian Christian Lobby.
Shelton said he was honored to fill Nile’s shoes, calling his mentor “a courageous and often lone voice for Christ’s values.”
Reporter Linc Jenkin noted in the Sydney Star Observer that any celebration of Nile’s retirement should be tempered. Don’t expect him to remain entirely silent in retirement. Jenkin cautioned that, “Lyle Shelton could possibly be worse given that he is considerably younger than Nile and has already been at the forefront of the fight against LGBTQI+ rights and visibility for years.”
Finally, President Joe Biden continued to keep his promise of a diverse administration this week with the nomination of Tucson, Arizona’s gay Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.
Magnus began his law enforcement career in Lansing, Michigan as a police dispatcher. He worked his way up to leading the departments in Fargo, North Dakota and Richmond, California before taking the helm in Tucson. He married Terrance Cheung, the former chief of staff to the mayor of Richmond, in 2014. A photograph at a demonstration protesting the police shooting death of Ferguson, Missouri African-American Michael Brown gained Mangus national prominence that year. The Richmond Police Chief appeared – in uniform – holding a “Black Lives Matter” sign. He took heat from the city’s police union and other law enforcement officials around the country for that. That was also the year Richmond recorded just 11 homicides – its lowest number in decades.
If the Senate confirms him, Magnus will not only be the first queer commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, he’ll be leading the country’s largest law enforcement agency. Its more than 60,000 agents guard both the southern and northern borders, and the shorelines of some 320 ports of entry. The agency is also at the center of the country’s intense immigration struggles.
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