Our tributes to the late pioneering queer musicians Ari Gold and Alix Dobkin! U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden offer Pride season greetings and promises! A “Rainbow Minute” uncovers the whole history of the Stonewall Inn!
And in NewsWrap: Hungary outlaws queer content in schools and media, top U.S. court rules for Church without apparent LGBTQ rights impact, two more Mexican states approve marriage equality, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of June 21, 2021
Ari and Alix: No Sad Songs!
Program #1,734 distributed 06/21/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Hungary’s lawmakers ban the “promotion of homosexuality or gender change” in classrooms and in any form of media available to minors [with comments by European Commission spokesman on Law and Equality CHRISTIAN WIGAND] … the Council of Europe formally condemns “rising anti-LGBTI hate speech and discrimination” in Poland … Uzbekistan National Revival Party leader Alisher Kadyrov suggests stripping all queer residents of their citizenship and deporting them to more accepting countries … the U.S. Supreme Court hands proponents of so-called “religious liberty” an apparent win in the case of a Catholic adoption agency and the city of Philadelphia, but most equality advocates say the ruling is extremely narrow and doesn’t actually impact LGBTQ rights … conservative Australian P.M. Scott Morrison resurrects his administration’s “Religious Discrimination Bill,” but proponents still aren’t satisfied, and LGBTQ activists are worried about major rights losses if it passes … the Biden administration’s Departments of Education and Justice file “friend of the court” briefs in cases, respectively, against West Virginia’s ban on trans school athletes and Arkansas’ ban on medically-necessary healthcare for transgender minors … Sinaloa and Baja California become the 20th and 21st Mexican states (out of 31) to open civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples … and a clever gay couple in Racine, Wisconsin “brightly” gets around their homeowners association rules that forced them to remove the rainbow flag from their front porch that they were flying for Pride month (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by LUCIA CHAPPELLE and MICHAEL LEBEAU, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: “Remember Then” TWO ID by U.S. CONGRESSMAN BARNEY FRANK (introduced by THE EARLS) + JAMES BALDWIN Online Pride TEACH-IN Promo (featuring LUCIA CHAPPELLE, ALPHONSO DAVID, and JAMES BALDWIN, with music by SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK).
Feature: This Rainbow Minute remembers Where It All Happened (introduced by a snippet from BRETT ARTERY’s news report with TWO-added sfx; this history of the Stonewall Inn is read by JAMIE THOMAS, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).
Feature: Before leaving on their first trip abroad, U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden recorded a warm Pride season message to the LGBTQ community (with outro music by JUDY SMALL and friends).
Feature: The LGBTQ community has lost two highly influential musical trailblazers this year. This Way Out’s Queer Music Focus producer STEVE SIMS pays tribute to their lives and work in words and music: Ari Gold (includes comments and snippets from his performances of Yankee Doodle Dandy [age 6], Wave Of You, Space Under The Sun, Where The Music Takes You, Re-Union, He’s On My Team, Love Will Take Over and Make My Body Rock) and Alix Dobkin (comments and snippets from her A Woman’s Love, The Woman in Your Life Is You, Every Woman Can Be a Lesbian, I Only Want To Be With You, Talking Lesbian, Lesbian Code and I Wish I Was a Lesbian [cover]).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending June 19, 2021 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Lucia Chappelle and Michael LeBeau, produced by Brian DeShazor
Hungarian lawmakers approved a bill this week banning classroom content that “promotes homosexuality” or gender change. It fits the agenda of increasingly autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. He’s gearing up for his upcoming re-election campaign, and LGBTQ people are easy targets.
The bill also outlaws any queer-positive content in advertising or media that could be seen by minors, which virtually bans anything queer-positive on television.
As an amendment to a bill establishing harsher penalties for pedophilia, it was difficult for lawmakers to vote against it. The final tally was 157 in favor, with one brave independent lawmaker voting no.
Human Rights Watch senior researcher Lydia Gall called equating LGBTQ people with pedophiles “despicable and unworthy of an E.U. member state.”
Opposition M.P. Anna Donáth also serves in the European Parliament. She called on E.U. authorities to take immediate action, without offering any specifics.
European Commission spokesman on Law and Equality Christian Wigand diplomatically danced around the issue during a press briefing on June 16th:
[sound:] “As regards to Hungarian law specifically, we are aware of the adopted law, and the national debate around it. We are looking into it in more detail. More generally, when protecting children from harmful content, it is important for member states to find the right balance of relevant fundamental rights, such as the freedom of expression or non-discrimination.”
That response was “lame” in Human Rights Watch researcher Gall’s opinion. Almost in unison, several other equality advocates lamented the ineffectual statement and demanded of the Commission “Please do something!”
Meanwhile, the Council of Europe took action this week against Hungary’s neighboring homophobic rival, Poland. The continent’s major human rights organization approved a resolution condemning the “rising anti-LGBTI hate speech and discrimination” infecting Poland. It called for the passage of pro-active human rights and anti-bias measures, locally and nationally.
Supported by autocratic President Andrezj Duda, at least 90 local governments across Poland have declared that they are “LGBT-Free Zones.” A few have reversed their positions after being threatened with the loss of much-needed European Union funding. It’s not certain if Duda has followed up on his promise to funnel federal funds to “LGBT-Free Zones” to compensate for any such losses.
Not to be outdone, the leader of Uzbekistan’s National Revival Party has suggested a novel way to rid his Central Asian country of LGBTQ people. Alisher Kadyrov said in an interview with Alter Ego that his government should strip all of its queer residents of citizenship, then deport them to countries that are willing to accept them. Kadyrov skimped on the details.
Equality advocates in the U.S. have been waiting with baited breath for an important decision from the Supreme Court. At first glance, the high court’s unanimous June 17th ruling in favor of Catholic Social Services might appear to be a major victory for proponents of so-called “religious liberty” and a setback for LGBTQ rights. In Fulton v the City of Philadelphia, the Roman Catholic agency had challenged the Pennsylvania municipality’s requirement that fostering and adoption agencies must consider applications from potential LGBTQ parents.
On a closer read through the decision, the general consensus is that it is “extremely narrow.” Veteran gay journalist Rex Wockner wrote that it was “based on a never-used clause in Philadelphia’s contracts, which Philadelphia can simply delete to nullify this ruling.” To Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, it’s “a significant victory for LGBTQ people” because “The Court did not change the current constitutional framework, which permits governments to enforce antidiscrimination laws that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people even when doing so may have a disparate burden on those who hold certain religious beliefs. … those who feared the Court might create a sweeping new religious exemption to such laws can breathe a sigh of relief.”
Statements from the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign, and other equality groups essentially echoed those sentiments, but the sense of relief
is not universal.
The conservative government of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is resurrecting its controversial “Religious Discrimination Bill.” Critics call it a “license to discriminate.” For example, it would allow healthcare providers to refuse to serve LGBTQ people based on religious belief, according to the Sydney Star Observer. It could also override many anti-discrimination laws enacted at the state level, such as Victoria’s recently passed law banning the use of so-called “conversion therapy.”
Neither side seems to be happy with the bill. The religious right warns that “protections” in the current version don’t go far enough, while LGBTQ activists worry that it could nullify many hard-won rights.
The government vowed this week to introduce the bill in Parliament before the end of the year.
National elections in Australia are scheduled for 2022.
Back in the U.S., the Biden administration is initiating pro-active steps to defend transgender people from the barrage of state-level anti-trans bills assaulting their basic human rights.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced this week that his Department is reversing the previous administration’s policy regarding Title IX. The civil rights law that protects students from discrimination based on sex will again be interpreted to include LGBTQ students.
The Department of Justice announced this week that it will file “friend of the court” briefs in challenges to two transphobic laws: West Virginia’s ban on trans competitors in school sports, and Arkansas’ ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.
In the West Virginia case, the Justice Department argues that “A state law that limits or denies a particular class of people’s ability to participate in public, federally funded educational programs and activities solely because their gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth violates both Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause [of the Constitution].” In the same way, it argues that the Arkansas law violates the Equal Protection Clause because it “specifically denies a limited class of people the ability to receive medically necessary care … solely on the basis of their sex assigned at birth.”
Virtually all of this year’s numerous state laws that impinge on transgender rights will face constitutional challenges.
Lawmakers in the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Baja California each opened civil marriage to same-gender couples this week. The vote was 23-to-zero with 17 not voting in Sinaloa on June 15th. The following day in Baja, it was 18-to-4 with one abstention and two not voting.
Mexico has 31 states, and 21 of them now enjoy marriage equality. The country’s Supreme Court has endorsed it, but the justices decided to allow each state to deal with the issue as it saw fit. Some have done so administratively. A few decided that nothing prevented same-gender couples from marrying under their existing laws. Most created new laws.
The independent capital district of Mexico City was the first jurisdiction in the country to open civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples. Legislation was enacted there in 2010.
Finally, a gay couple in a residential subdivision of Racine, Wisconsin came up with a bright idea to express their Pride this month. Memo Fachino and Lance Mier had been ordered to take down the rainbow flag they were flying on their front porch by the local Homeowners Association – it instituted rules against “opinion” flags after Black Lives Matter and Thin Blue Line banners ruffled feathers.
Fachino said that, “Looking through our [Homeowners] rules, we noticed that removable lights are permitted without restriction so … we bought six colored flood lights, and we washed our house in Pride colors.”
The couple posted a photo of their glowing rainbow house to Reddit’s “Malicious Compliance” subreddit, a group of one-and-a-half-million who support “conforming to the letter, but not the spirit, of a request.” The viral photo has had tens of thousands of views and more than 6,000 positive comments.
Fachino admitted that it was “a little less subtle than our simple flag,” but “a lot more fun for anyone complaining about the flag itself and what it represents.”
He suggested that a brand new market might exist for boxes of Pride edition multi-hued floodlights – that would make evening observances by LGBTQ people and their allies even more colorful.
You can see a picture of the house this week at thiswayout.org.
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