From the Obama administration’s 2016 move toward transgender inclusion in the U.S. military, to the reversal, to the reversal of the reversal, the winding road to the right to serve.
How a gay artist made sure that “LOVE is Everywhere” in a Rainbow Minute.
And in NewsWrap: anti-Pride violence kills one journalist as queer-suportive demonstrations grow in Tbilisi, thousands rise in Spain to protest a gay-bashing death, WeChat accounts of Chinese LGBTQ students are wiped clean, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of July 12, 2021
U.S. Trans Troops Timeline!
Program #1,737 distributed 07/12/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): A Pride march planned for the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi sparks Orthodox Church/ultranationalist protests and attacks on the related LGBTQ Film Festival, on the offices of parade organizers, and assaults on so-called “queer propaganda-spreading” journalists covering the events, but thousands demonstrate their support on the streets of the city the day after organizers decide to cancel the Pride march … the brutal mob beating death of 24-year-old gay nursing assistant Samuel Luiz in Spain prompts protest marches across the country, but violent crowd control efforts by police officers in Madrid … queer-supportive social media WeChat accounts run by LGBTQ university students across China are suddenly shut down … the European Court of Human Rights rules for the first time that a transgender mom in Russia was discriminated against when Moscow authorities refused to let her have contact with her two young children from a previous marriage … the European Parliament resolves to punish Hungary for its “no promo homo in schools and on TV” law … Ohio’s Republican governor makes his U.S. state the latest to deny necessary medical care to LGBTQ people based on religious belief … the Presbyterian Church in America, one of three Presbyterian denominations in the U.S., bans the ordination of gay priests … and queer current and former students and staff and their supporters stage the first, albeit unofficial, LGBTQ Pride march near the campus of disapproving Mormon-run Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by LUCIA CHAPPELLE and MICHAEL LEBEAU, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR) + THIS JUST IN: A TV cameraman beaten in Tbilisi dies of his injuries (reported by GREG GORDON).
Feature: If you see that LOVE Is Everywhere, it may be because a gay man gave it a makeover, as you’ll learn in this Rainbow Minute (with intro music by JOHN DENVER, read by MARK PAUGH, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).
Feature: Transgender people in the U.S. military have been pushed into and out of camouflage since 2016. Earlier this year the Biden administration re-opened the opportunity to serve that his predecessor had slammed shut. The road to trans inclusion had to pass through minefields not unlike the ones that previous bans on military service had overcome (includes a report from 2016 by HARRY HORTON/Feature Story News, and from 2019 and 2021 by LUCIA CHAPPELLE and GREG GORDON, with music by ELLA FITZGERALD, PRINCETON MARCELLIS, THE CLASH, and MICHAEL JOHNSON).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending July 10, 2021 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Lucia Chappelle and Michael LeBeau, produced by Brian DeShazor
Religious conservatives in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi tried to stamp out LGBTQ Pride this week, but their efforts backfired. The elders of the highly influential Orthodox Church issued a statement denouncing the planned Pride parade as a “grave sin.” They sponsored a protest march to precede the Pride Parade that descended into violence with the crowd turning on journalists they accused of spreading “LGBTQ propaganda.” According to various media reports, up to 50 reporters were injured by rocks, bottles and sticks.
Mobs then ransacked the offices of the planned Pride “March for Dignity” organizers. Activists say police stood by as they were attacked along with more journalists on the scene.
Earlier in the week, the same mix of religious fervor and ultra-nationalism had sent anti-queer mobs to prevent the Pride week Queer Film Festival from taking place.
Reeling from the backlash, the organizers canceled all remaining Tbilisi Pride Week events, including the march. However, the day after Pride march would have taken place, thousands of people gathered outside the Georgian Parliament building to protest the homophobic violence. A counter-protest reportedly drew less than 200 people. Pride organizers called the demonstration of support “historic.”
The embassies of more than 15 countries joined a chorus of global criticism against the Black Sea nation. A crowd-funding JustGiving page has been opened to help Tbilisi Pride “rebuild back bigger and better.”
Global outrage is also swirling around the brutal murder of a young gay man in Spain. Samuel Luiz was video chatting with a friend outside a bar in the early hours of July 3rd in the northwest city of A Coruña. A group of young men gathered outside the bar thought Luiz was trying to film them. As he was trying to explain what he was doing, one of the men attacked him. Up to a dozen people joined the mob attack, chasing Luiz down the street. Friends of the 24-year-old nursing assistant said several of the attackers shouted anti-gay slurs. Luiz was eventually rushed to the hospital, where he died. Three men and a woman in their early 20’s have been arrested in connection with the vicious beating death, according to the most recent reports.
An estimated 30,000 marched for “Justice for Samuel” through the streets of A Coruña. Demonstrations arose in several other Spanish cities, including Barcelona and Valencia. Some protest signs declared, “Your homophobia is killing us.” Videos posted to social media from Madrid showed riot police allegedly engaged in crowd control attacking peaceful protestors and random passers-by.
Several politicians condemned what were termed “disproportionate” and “incomprehensible” attacks.
Tens of thousands of people have already signed a petition to rename the street where he was killed in his honor to ensure that the world “never forgets” Samuel Luiz.
The pro-queer social media accounts of students at leading universities in China were unexpectedly shut down this week. They all used the highly popular WeChat app to offer a range of services from mental health support to media reviews and other queer-related content.
Operators also discovered that all of their past content had been deleted. One account manager who insisted on anonymity told Reuters that they had been “censored without warning … All of us have been wiped out.” When the news agency tried to access a sampling of the excised LGBTQ accounts, they were blocked by messages from WeChat saying that the groups had received numerous complaints and had “violated regulations on the management of accounts offering public information service on the Chinese internet.”
Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997, and removed from the medical profession’s official list of mental disorders in 2001. However social taboos remain strong, and there are no legal protections for LGBTQ people.
Users of the popular Chinese social media site Weibo sharply criticized the shutdowns. One wrote, “What saddens me the most is that we have no idea how to revolt and who we should react against.”
The European Court of Human Rights ruled this week that Russia violated the rights of a transgender woman by preventing her from seeing her children because of her gender identity. The official rationale was that contact with her children would have a “negative impact on [their] mental health and psychological development.” But the Court decided that denying her contact with her children violated Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Those provisions guarantee the “right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence” and the “prohibition of discrimination.” Activists say that it’s the first time the Court has applied Article 14 to a case involving gender identity.
The trans plaintiff is identified in Court documents as “A.M.” She separated from her wife after seven years of marriage and secured legal gender recognition in 2015. Russian authorities supported her ex-wife’s decision to deny A.M. access to their two young children.
Masen Davis of Transgender Europe applauded the Court’s ruling. He noted that, “Every fourth trans person in Europe is a parent. [This] judgment gives legal security to many of them.”
Russia under Vladimir Putin has a long history of thumbing its nose at ECHR rulings, however, so there’s no reason to believe that this case will be an exception.
Hungary’s widely condemned ban on the discussion of homosexuality and gender fluidity in schools or on television took effect on July 8th. A group of activists erected a 30-foot-high rainbow-colored heart outside the Parliament building in Budapest that day, as representatives of Hungary’s LGBTQ advocacy group The Háttér Society and Amnesty International Hungary held a press conference. They vowed that members are preparing to challenge the law through civil disobedience actions, according to The Washington Blade.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament approved a non-binding resolution strongly condemning the ban. It urges the E.U. to take urgent action against Hungary, and calls for “teeth” in the form of denying E.U. funds to the country if the law is not repealed.
Attempts to cajole and now threaten Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government may not be enough. He’s steadfastly withstood Europe’s withering criticism thus far. Orbán’s Chief of Staff told “Reuters” that, “Brussels’ efforts to have us allow LGBT+ activists into schools and nursery schools are in vain. We are not willing to do that.”
Briefly in U.S. news, Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine has signed the latest measure advancing the primary agenda of Republican-controlled state legislatures this year – aside from voter suppression, that is. A provision buried in Ohio’s two-year budget bill allows doctors and other healthcare professionals to refuse to treat patients if they have a “moral” objection. The measure specifically gives any medical provider, including insurance companies, “the freedom to decline to perform, participate in, or pay for any health care service which violates the practitioner’s, institution’s, or payer’s conscience as informed by the moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.” That clearly jeopardizes access to services for LGBTQ people and women seeking reproductive care.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, at least a dozen other U.S. states have enacted similar “conscience clause” laws.
Delegates to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America voted on July 1st to ban gay men from ordination as priests. The vote was 1438-to-417.
The amendment to The Book of Church Order refers to same-gender love as “the sinfulness of fallen desires.” It also subtly affirms “Spirit-empowered” conversion therapy.
The new rule must be approved by two-thirds of the denomination’s regional presbyteries, and then confirmed at the next General Assembly in 2022.
The Presbyterian Church in America is one of three Presbyterian denominations in the United States.
Finally, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah is as Mormon a place of higher learning as there is. Church leaders have nothing good to say about LGBTQ people, and the university’s “honor code” specifically bans the recognition of same-gender unions. But an anonymous group of B.Y.U. students staged the university’s first – albeit unofficial – Pride event on June 28th. More than a thousand current and former B.Y.U. students and staff and their allies marched from Joaquin Park to Kiwanis Park, just blocks from the campus. They waved rainbow flags along the route and held up signs insisting that “Love is the answer” and “Hate has no home here.” The Salt Lake Tribune reported that cooperative police officers guided the marchers, simply asking them to stay on the sidewalk and obey traffic signals.
Black gay B.Y.U. graduate Stacey Harkey spoke at a rally to kick the march off. He said that the larger-than-expected turnout surprised organizers. Harkey called it “an absolutely exhilarating experience” that “gave me so much hope for the future of the queer community.”
~~~~~~~~~~ (reported by Greg Gordon:) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We have this update from Tbilisi, Georgia: One of the many journalists beaten by anti-LGBTQ rioters has succumbed to his injuries. News of the death of TV Pirveli cameraman Alexander Lashkarava has added fuel to spontaneous pro-queer protests following the mob violence and the cancelation of Tbilisi Pride. Demands include the resignation of the government, and an independent investigation into the mob violence. The Interior Ministry is blaming the homophobic attacks on Pride organizers themselves for being “unreasonable.” We’ll continue to follow this on-going story.
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