“OutCasting Overtime’s” queer youth commentator Isha responds to the Catholic Church’s mixed messages, with the latest official statement banning same-gender couple blessings seeming to contradict Pope Francis’ perceived more welcoming attitude (produced by Marc Sophos).
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice can’t figure out how to defend the bill he just signed to bar trans athletes from participating in school sports when grilled by MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle. Then “The Washington Blade’s” Chris Johnson presses White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about how President Joe Biden will act on his pledge to protect trans youth.
The queer canine connection of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas is revealed in a “Rainbow Minute” (produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns, read by Jennifer Noel Catton).
Plus Wilson Cruz “gets a shot” and sends a message!
And in NewsWrap: Uganda clarifies Penal Code to targets queers, first Croatian gay dads allowed to adopt children, Tonga mourns murdered trans and HIV activist, homophobia quashes an honor for T.J. Osborne, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and John Dyer V (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of May 10, 2021
Papal Letdown! Biden Slowdown?
Program #1,728 distributed 05/10/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Uganda’s Parliament approves the latest version of a bill to criminalize consensual adult same-gender sex, to equate those acts with bestiality, and to also criminalize sex workers of any orientation and their clients … a Croatian court approves the Balkan nation’s first adoptions by a same-gender couple … beloved Tongan queer activist Polikalepo Kefu is found murdered on a beach near his home … proudly gay Latvian paramedic Normunds Kindzulis dies of burns suffered when a homophobic neighbor douses his clothes with fuel and burns him alive … the Republican-controlled Senate in the U.S. state of Kansas fails to override the veto by Democratic Governor Laura Kelly of a bill to ban transgender competitors in school sports … committees in the Houses of Representatives in Texas and Louisiana kill anti-trans sports bills in their states … Tennessee’s dominant Republican lawmakers and Governor enact bills to allow parents to pull their kids out of sex education classes that discuss sexual orientation or gender identity, to outlaw appropriate medical care for trans young people, and to order businesses to post signs outside of their bathrooms if they allow transgender people to use them … the Tennessee state House’s leading homophobe takes pettiness to a new low by blocking a legislative commendation to country music star T.J. of the Osborne Brothers for being the music genre’s trailblazing out performer [with an excerpt from the Osborne Brothers’ live performance at the April 18th American Country Music Awards of their I’m Not For Everyone (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by TANYA KANE-PARRY and JOHN DYER V, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Evidence has not been a staple of U.S. Republican politics in so many ways, and the state-level attacks on the rights of trans people make great examples. MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle demonstrated how true that is when she tied West Virginia Governor Jim Justice up in the backcourt of his own ignorance; meanwhile, The Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson presses White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on the president’s promise to trans youth that he “has your back” during his address to a joint session of Congress last week (with intro music by ROCK 2 THE CORE and transition/outro music by JOHN MAYER).
Feature: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas and Basket made three in this Rainbow Minute (produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS, read by JENNIFER NOEL CATTON, and with TWO-added intro/outro music by PATTI PAGE).
Feature: The Vatican has been pelted by protests ever since a March pronouncement against blessing same-gender unions. Dozens of German priests are planning to hold virtual blessings of queer couples in defiance of the ban. Meanwhile, a Catholic research group has released a study arguing that the alleged biblical condemnations of homosexuality are based on misinterpretations and mistranslations. And young people in Belgium are leaving the Church en masse. OutCasting Overtime’s ISHA echoes their complaints (produced by MARC SOPHOS, with TWO-added intro/outro music by TOM LEHRER).
Feature: COVID-19 vaccine scarcity is the problem in much of the world, but in the U.S. and other developed countries vaccine hesitancy is the stumbling block for a variety of reasons. Gay actor Wilson Cruz added his voice — in Spanish and in English — to an outreach project sponsored by The Creative Coalition and the National Blue Ribbon Task Force to Stem COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy (intro’d/outro’d by a snippet from My Shot from the Broadway hit Hamilton.
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending May 8, 2021 Written this week by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported by Tanya Kane-Parry and John Dyer V, produced by Brian DeShazor
The parliament of Uganda passed the Sexual Offences Bill 2019 this week, again solidifying the East African nation as one of the worst places on earth to be queer.
The Bill clarifies the Penal Code’s ban on “unnatural offences” by specifying a “ban on sexual acts between persons of the same gender.” Those acts are equated with bestiality, and sex workers and their clients of any orientation are punished with prison time. It passed its third reading on May 3rd.
The government of President Yoweri Museveni began its campaign against queer Ugandans in 2013. Global critics made the original Anti-Homosexuality Act infamous, calling it the “Kill The Gays Bill” because it included execution for “aggravated homosexuality” – repeated convictions for engaging in same-gender sex. Lawmakers eventually settled on life in prison for “unnatural sex”. The current version punishes consensual adult same-gender sex with up to five years in prison. Museveni is expected to sign it.
Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda called the new law “extreme, uncalled for and very regrettable,” and pledged “to challenge this in the courts of law.” The old “Kill the Gays Bill” was struck down by Uganda’s Constitutional Court in 2014, but only on a legal technicality.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.S. State Department were the first among global leaders to issue statements condemning the Sexual Offences Bill.
A pair of gay dads in Croatia have won the right for same-gender couples there to adopt children. In September, Mladen Kozic and Ivo Segota became the first queer couple in the small Balkan nation to win the right to foster-parent two children. Their five-year effort to become parents finally ended when the Zagreb Administrative Court ruled in late April that they should be able to fully adopt the seven- and five-year-old little boys.
Croatia has allowed same-gender couples to enter into “life partnerships” since 2014 — but that was only after a referendum constitutionally defined civil marriage as exclusively heterosexual. A 2019 law encouraged fostering by married and unmarried heterosexual couples and single people, but the eligibility of life partners was not specified. Kozic and Segota challenged that omission in court, and that ultimately led to the fostering and adoption decisions.
The dads said that they went public with their effort, after clearing it with the social worker in their case. They wanted to show that queer couples are not, in their words, “some kind of monsters, aliens imported from the West.” But, they added, “it’s not about us. It’s about … children who deserve better care and, due to the poor work of institutions, are losing their future.”
A government spokesperson told Reuters that there would be no comment until the ruling is “non-appealable and final.”
The president of the Tonga Leitis Association was found dead on a beach near his home on May 1st. A 27-year-old man has been charged with murdering Polikalepo Kefu. The motive for the killing has not been disclosed.
Forty-one-year old “Poli,” as he was known, led the Association that advocates for trans and gender-variant Tongans. It also provides HIV/AIDS services.
Proudly gay Tongan Olympic swimmer Amini Fonua joined dozens of organizations and individuals to mourn Poli’s death. He said, “It is truly a devastating day when we learn that people in the Pacific are still being murdered for simply living in their truth.”
Tonga is a Polynesian string of islands in the southwestern Pacific. It’s among the dozens of countries around the world that continue to criminalize same-gender sex.
A gay paramedic in the Latvian city of Tukums is dead after an allegedly homophobic neighbor doused his clothes with flammable liquid and set him on fire. 29-year-old Normunds Kindzulis suffered burns over more than 85 percent of his body. His gay friend Artis Jaunklavins was also hospitalized with burns he got trying in vain to save Kindzulis.
The European Pride Organizers Association took to Twitter to proclaim Kindzulis a “victim of a homophobic arson attack.” Latvia’s queer advocacy group Mozaika agreed.
Kindzulis had left the capital city of Riga to escape death threats by moving to Tukums, about 70 kilometers away. After the April 23rd attack, he was transferred to a Riga hospital, where he died on April 28th.
Jaunklavins told the local Tukums newspaper that the neighbor accused of killing Kindzulis had verbally threatened and shouted homophobic slogans at them a number of times. He said the pair had filed complaints with the police, but there was no investigation. “We had to wait for someone to be mutilated or killed,” he said.
No arrests in the case have been reported.
Here’s this week’s scorecard of Republican-controlled U.S. state legislatures competing to pass bans on transgender athletes in school sports:
The Kansas Senate failed to override Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s veto of their trans ban.
Committees in the Texas and Louisiana Houses of Representatives each refused to advance similar bills.
Tennessee’s legislature is currently leading the Republican charge against queer and transgender youth with a trifecta of nastiness. One bill allows parents to pull their kids out of sex education classes that include discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity. Another would outlaw gender-affirming care for trans minors. Top those off with a bill to require businesses to post signs alerting the public that they allow transgender people to use their bathrooms.
Finally, on a different note [dropped in: excerpt from the Osborne Brothers’ I’m Not For Everyone] … Tennessee Senate Republicans unanimously approved a resolution to honor Osborne Brothers lead singer T.J. Osborne as a “trailblazer” in country music. Osborne came out in a “Time” magazine interview earlier this year.
However the measure was effectively killed by the state House Republican Caucus chair Jeremy Faison, who lodged a procedural challenge. Faison’s long record of anti-queer statements and votes make his procedural objections seem far too convenient.
Kacey Musgraves joined other country stars to publicly condemn the pettiness. Osborne Brothers musical collaborator Maren Morris re-tweeted a statement from the progressive news outlet Tennessee Holler that said Faison blocked the honor for the gay country star “for no reason other than blatant bigotry and spite … so much hate in our state.”
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