OutCasting Overtime’s young adult team asks what exactly it is that we celebrate, and wonders whether the LGBTQ community is one big happy family!
And in NewsWrap: Uganda blames COVID for bust at Nansana queer shelter, Chile’s Pinera endorses marriage equality, Florida’s DeSantis starts anti-LGBTQ war for Pride month, Wisconsin’s Evers issues queer-supportive orders, Utah’s Cox proclaims the state’s first Pride month, Google doodles Franklin Kameny and donates millions to queer causes, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of June 7, 2021
The Young and the Proud!
Program #1,732 distributed 06/07/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Police net 44 in the raid of a “gay wedding” at an LGBTQ shelter in Uganda … Chile’s conservative President Pinera unexpectedly changes course and pushes for marriage equality during his annual address to Congress … Florida Republican Ron DeSantis leads the anti-queer U.S. state governors sweepstakes this week by signing bills to ban trans competitors in school sports, and to deny funding for mental health care to survivors of the horrific Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando … Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issues three Pride month executive orders to ban government funding for “conversion therapy,” to fly the rainbow flag over the statehouse, and directing all state agencies to use gender-neutral pronouns whenever possible … Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox swims against the Republican tide to issue a Pride Proclamation … the first out member of a U.S. cabinet joins President Joe Biden, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and embassies around the world to kick off the traditional June Pride month [with excerpted comments by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg] … tech giant Google puts its corporate money where its mouth is by honoring trailblazing queer activist Frank Kameny with a “Google Doodle” and awarding millions of dollars in grants to LGBTQ advocacy groups, including the U.S.-based Outright International, Transgender Law Center, and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by TANYA KANE-PARRY and MARCOS NAJERA, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: New TWO E-Newsletter Promo (featuring MARCOS NAJERA and TANYA KANE-PARRY, with a cameo by JAMES BALDWIN).
Feature: It’s June and time to celebrate LGBTQ Pride. But exactly what do we celebrate, and is the LGBTQ community one big happy family? In this commentary from the OutCasting Overtime team, ROSE explores some of those issues (produced by MARCO SOPHOS, with TWO-added intro music by JON GILBERT LEAVITT and the voice of HARVEY MILK).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending June 4, 2021 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and Marcos Najera, produced by Brian DeShazor
Forty-four people were arrested at an LGBTQ shelter in the city of Nansana, Uganda this week. Municipal police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said they had been “tipped off” to a so-called “gay wedding,” and told local reporters that, “gifts were recovered, [including] suitcases, a TV, assorted gifts like sugar, salt, pineapples and many other gifts normally given at traditional functions.” Owoyesigyire also claimed that condoms were found at the event.
The newly formed queer advocacy group Pride Uganda announced on Twitter that, “Several days ago, we hosted a peaceful gathering, yet, the police were informed and wrongfully detained members of our community with many still awaiting bail. With Pride Month 2021 upon us, the time is now to rise up against such violent persecution.”
Uganda has outlawed same-gender sex since the East African country’s colonial days. It’s become known as one of the world’s homophobic hot spots in the past several years with headlines threatening new penalties that at one point included execution for “aggravated homosexuality.” A Sexual Offenses Bill passed in May strengthens laws against “unnatural offenses” and equates consensual adult same-gender sex with bestiality.
Veteran activist Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda told The Washington Blade that the detainees in this week’s raid in Nansana have been charged with committing a “negligent act likely to spread infection of disease,” apparently for COVID-19 violations. Mugisha said authorities subjected the men to medically debunked anal tests to determine whether or not they’re gay.
More than two dozen LGBTQ people were arrested in a raid of a Kampala LGBTQ homeless shelter in April 2020 and charged with COVID-19 violations. Prosecutors eventually dropped all charges, and a court ordered them released.
Chilé’s politically conservative President Sebastián Piñera has finally endorsed opening civil marriage to same-gender couples. In his annual address to Congress on June 1st Piñera declared, “I think the time has come for marriage equality in our country.” He promised to proceed with a “sense of urgency” to get the marriage equality bill passed.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered all countries in the region to institute marriage equality in 2018. Countries without marriage equality are bound by that ruling, including Chilé. But its Supreme and Constitutional Courts have each rejected marriage equality lawsuits.
Congress passed a less-than-equal civil unions bill for same-gender couples in 2015. A marriage equality bill pushed by then-President Michelle Bachelet has stalled since 2017. Bachelet had signed on to an agreement with the country’s major queer rights group MOVIHL and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to promote marriage equality, but Piñera‘s government has resisted until now.
MOVIHL spokesperson Rolando Jimenez called this week’s presidential announcement “as surprising as it is positive.”
This week’s most notable anti-queer U.S. governor is Republican Ron DeSantis of Florida.
He kicked off Pride month by signing measures to both persecute transgender teens and deny help to survivors of Orlando’s Pulse massacre.
DeSantis was quick to sign a bill that rushed through the Republican controlled legislature to prevent trans girls and women from competing in school sports. Along with bills to restrict voting rights, that’s one of the most popular bills in Republican controlled state legislatures this year.
DeSantis also eliminated funding for all LGBTQ-supportive programs and projects from his state’s budget. That included $150,000 for Orlando’s LGBT Center from the city’s United Assistance Center. That money was intended to provide mental health counseling for survivors of the horrific mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in 2016. Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf now works with the state’s major advocacy group Equality Florida. He put it bluntly, saying, “Governor DeSantis has declared war on Florida’s LGBTQ community.”
By contrast, Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers greeted Pride month with three pro-queer executive orders. One bans the use of government funds for so-called “conversion therapy,” the abusive practice that falsely claims to make queer people straight.
A second declaration orders the LGBTQ+ rainbow flag to fly over the statehouse until “sunset” on June 30th.
The third executive order directs Wisconsin agencies to use gender-neutral pronouns and terms in documents, guidelines and policies wherever possible.
Wisconsin’s Republican-dominated legislature is still considering a ban on transgender female competitors in school sports. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quoted Evers at a press conference this week saying, “I very seldom weigh in on bills before they reach my desk, but I can tell you one thing for sure. As governor I will veto any bill that’s going to negatively impact our kids. Period.”
Utah‘s Republican Governor Spencer J. Cox sprang a surprise by officially designating June as Pride Month. He’s believed to be the first governor in the predominantly Mormon state to do so. Cox tweeted, “Here in Utah, we strive to create a culture of hope, love, understanding, and respect by celebrating our common humanity. Happy Pride Month, Utah!”
Cox already swam against the tide by vetoing a trans school sports ban. He said at the time, “If you have not spent time with transgender youth, then I would encourage you to pause on this issue.”
Reacting to the Pride proclamation, veteran human rights activist George Takei tweeted, “This is quite moving. Bravo, sir. We need more of this compassion in politics, particularly from Republicans.”
Rainbow flags are flying at U.S. embassies around the world during Pride month this year – a sharp contrast to the previous administration’s ban on those displays.
President Joe Biden himself issued a Pride proclamation this week, while Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm joined LGBTQ employees in a ceremony raising the rainbow flag outside the Department’s building.
The first “out” gay person to serve in a U.S. presidential cabinet also shared his greetings:
[Buttigieg sound:] “Hi there, it’s Secretary Pete here to wish everybody a Happy Pride Month. … Harvey Milk once said that hope will never be silent. Not long ago, there was a time when I believed that I might have to choose between serving my country and starting my own family. In some countries, someone like me could never have served in the military or served as a mayor, let alone in a role like this. And not long ago those things were not possible in our country either. Yet today, I’m honored to serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet and proud that I was sworn in with my husband Chasten by my side. I know that there are a lot of LGBTQ youth right now, grappling with the fear that being yourself could mean sacrificing family, friends, or a future career. I want you to know that there are so many people out there ready and eager to accept and support you, including me. Thank you. Take care and be safe.”
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
Finally, tech giant Google kicked off its Pride month observance this week honoring a trailblazing activist – and then put its money where its corporate mouth is.
The June 2nd Google Doodle celebrated Frank Kameny, who received his doctorate in astronomy from Harvard after returning from military service during World War II.
He then got a job with the U.S. government, but was fired for being gay. Kameny – unsuccessfully – sued in 1961. The Kameny “Google Doodle” features a drawing of him wearing a lei among flowering trees, based on an image of him at a Pride celebration in 2010.
The company’s charitable Google.org arm also announced that it’s providing several million dollars to queer communities around the world. The donation includes two million dollars to OutRight Action International’s COVID-19 Global LGBTIQ Emergency Fund. That’s on top of Google.org’s previous million dollar-gift to the world queer advocacy organization for the funding of more than 120 groups in more than 60 countries. The Transgender Law Center and the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund are also each getting a million dollars.
Juan Rajlin is the treasurer and global executive sponsor of Pride at Google. He noted in a statement that, “There is still a lot of work to do, especially as we continue to fight for the rights of our trans community, but I remain optimistic about our community’s future … given how far we’ve come.”
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