Australian former Pentecostal preacher and founder of Ambassadors and Bridge Builders International Anthony Venn-Brown debunks the key Bible verses that are used to condemn homosexuality (Part One of a three-part series, edited from a multi-faith webinar by Sydney correspondent Barry McKay).
A “Rainbow Minute” goes back to the post-World War II era to find “The First Lesbian Magazine” (read by Paige McCreary, produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns).
And in NewsWrap: Chile’s Senate approves marriage equality, Hungary’s Orban defies E.U. with anti-queer referendum, young trans athletes saved in Louisiana and West Virginia, trans model of color Blooms on “Sports Illustrated’s” “Swimsuit” cover, hockey’s Prokop skates out of the closet, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Paula Thomas and Wendy Natividad (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this and more on the July 26, 2021 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of July 26, 2021
Clobber Passage Clobberer!
Program #1,739 distributed 07/26/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Chile’s Senate finally approves a marriage equality bill after conservative President Sebastian Pinera ends his multi-year resistance … Argentina becomes the first nation in Latin America to allow the non-binary “X” gender marker on government identification documents … at least two dozen people have been arrested for participating in the violent protests of LGBTQ Pride events in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi in early July … Hungary’s P.M. Viktor Orban dodges E.U. sanction threats by proposing a public vote on recently-passed laws to ban the positive portrayal of LGBTQ people in schools or on television … Louisiana Republicans fail to override the veto by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards of a bill to ban transgender people in school sports … a federal judge blocks the enforcement of a first-in-the-U.S. Arkansas state law to deny appropriate gender-affirming medical care for trans young people … a federal judge in West Virginia rules that an 11-year-old trans girl can try out for her school’s girls cross country and track teams, thereby blocking that state’s trans-in-sports ban … Leyna Bloom makes history as the first trans-woman cover model on the annual Sports Illustrated “Swimsuit Issue,” and the first-ever trans woman of color in that issue … top National Hockey League Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop becomes that sport’s first proudly out gay professional [with brief excerpts from his interview with ESPN] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by PAULA THOMAS and WENDY NATIVIDAD, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Post-World War II lesbians communicate through The First Lesbian Magazine in this Rainbow Minute (read by PAIGE McCREARY, produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS).
Feature: It’s not easy to foster constructive dialogue about queer life and traditional religion. That’s the calling Australian former Pentecostal preacher Anthony Venn-Brown answered when he founded Ambassadors And Bridge Builders International in 2013. Venn-Brown and his organization helped put together a multi-faith webinar to explore LGBTQ-related texts found in the Bible, the Torah and the Koran. This Way Out Sydney correspondent BARRY McKAY brings us highlights from the roundtable in a three- part series, starting this week with Venn-Brown himself taking on anti-queer biblical texts (with music by NORMAN GREENBAUM and MARSHA STEVENS-PINO).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending July 24, 2021
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Paula Thomas and Wendy Natividad, produced by Brian DeShazor
Chilé’s Senate has finally approved marriage equality. The vote was not close: 28 in favor, and 14 opposed. After years of resistance, rightwing President Sebastián Piñera suddenly announced his surprising support for equality in early June. Less-than-equal civil unions have been available to gay and lesbian Chilean couples since 2015. MOVILH, The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, is the South American nation’s leading queer advocacy group. They had entered into an agreement with Socialist former President Michelle Bachelet in 2012 to enact marriage equality and open adoption to same-gender couples. MOVILH officially withdrew from the deal last October in frustration with the government’s inaction. President Piñera had also disregarded the Inter-American Court of Human Rights 2018 order that all members of the Organization of American States open civil marriage to queer couples if they had not already done so. MOVILH spokesperson Rolando Jiménez said that “It is not a right or left issue, it is not anyone's ideological workhorse, it has to do with the dignity and human rights of children.” The measure now goes to Chilé’s Chamber of Deputies. With Piñera’s strong support, passage there is expected in the next few weeks.
Marriage equality has been the law of the land in neighboring Argentina since 2010, and now it’s the first Latin American country to allow an “X” gender marker on a non-binary person’s National Identity Document. It came in the form of an official decree by President Alberto Fernández this week. The announcement said that it “implements the rights recognized under the Gender Identity Law, interpreting its scope beyond binaryism.” Provisions of that law included allowing trans people to change their legal gender without medical intervention. In September 2020, Fernández ordered that at least one percent of all public sector jobs go to transgender applicants. Argentine queer rights activist Mariano Ruiz told the Washington Blade, “We hope that … we will soon have a new law against discriminatory acts [and] a comprehensive law for trans people.” Argentina joins India, Canada, New Zealand, the U.S. and a few other countries that allow the non- binary “X” gender marker on government documents.
At least 24 people have been arrested in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi for participating in violent anti-LGBTQ Pride attacks, according to Pink News. Under the country’s Criminal Code, they’re being charged with “participating in group violence, unlawful interference with a journalist’s professional activities, and persecution using violence or threat of violence.” At least 50 journalists covering the early July melees reported being injured by mobs that targeted them, along with activists and bystanders. The Orthodox Church-inspired ultra-nationalist violence included an anti-queer protest march and an unruly demonstration outside the venue hosting a Queer Film Festival.
TV cameraman Alex Lashkarava died after being beaten during the ransacking of the offices of Pride Week organizers. Officers forcibly removed Lashkarava’s body from his family’s home. The government claims an autopsy showed that the photojournalist died of a drug overdose. Georgian government officials are also insisting that LGBTQ people are responsible for the violence because they had flaunted public safety concerns. Demands for the government’s resignation heard during days of demonstrations after Lashkarava’s death have apparently abated.
Hungary’s rightwing Prime Minister Viktor Orban has responded to pressure from the European Union by announcing a referendum on the country’s law banning queer-positive representation in schools or on television. The European Commission had told Orban’s government to repeal the “no promo homo” law or face significant sanctions, including hefty fines. In a July 21st Facebook post calling for Hungarian voters to decide the issue, Orban declared, “The future of our children is at stake, so we cannot cede ground on this issue.” Orban has held power since 2010, and is seeking reelection in April. He has yet to announce exactly when the referendum will be held, but the five questions citizens will be asked to vote on are highly toxic: Do they support “sexual orientation workshops” in schools without parental consent? Do they believe gender reassignment procedures should be discussed among children, and should children be allowed access to those procedures? Should content that could affect children’s sexual orientation be shown on television without restriction? The next move in this ongoing chess game is the European Commission’s. There’s been no comment as yet from the E.U.’s executive branch about Orban’s proposed referendum.
Beleaguered transgender young people in the United States enjoyed three legal victories this week. The Louisiana legislature’s Republican majority failed to override Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards’ veto of a bill to ban transgender youth from competing in school sports. It was the first-ever special session called by Louisiana legislators to override a governor’s veto. The override succeeded in the Senate with the bare minimum 26 votes, but fell two votes short of the required two-thirds majority in the House, 68-to-30. Weeks ago Edwards proclaimed his intention to veto any bill that discriminates against LGBTQ people. He told a news briefing following the House vote that what he called the “mean” bill targeted the “most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana. I would rather the headlines going out from today be that Louisiana did what was right and best.”
A federal judge in Arkansas issued an injunction this week preventing the enforcement of a law banning gender-affirming medical care for trans minors. It’s the first measure of its kind in the U.S., and Republican lawmakers succeeded in overriding their own Governor Asa Hutchinson’s veto. He has happily signed other anti-trans bills, but acknowledged that this one would “lead to significant harms.” The injunction will remain throughout the legal challenge. And eleven-year-old transgender athlete Becky Pepper-Jackson must be allowed to try out for her high school girl’s cross-country and track teams by order of a federal judge in West Virginia. This week’s ruling essentially blocks the state from enforcing a ban on trans female student athletes passed by the Republican-dominated legislature. Becky’s attorneys from Lambda Legal and the ACLU of West Virginia reported that she was “excited” by the ruling. She said, “It hurt that the State of West Virginia would try to block me from pursuing my dreams. I just want to play.”
The publishers of the always-anticipated annual Sports Illustrated “Swimsuit Issue” have topped themselves after featuring Brazilian Valentina Sampaio as their first trans woman model last year. This year, trans model Leyna Bloom made history several times over as the issue’s cover model. The Black and Filipina model is not only the Swimsuit Issue’s first trans cover selection, she’s the first trans woman of color to appear among the yearly bevvy of beauties. Bloom had already won international fame as Mother of the House of Miyake-Mugler and walking the category of face in New York City’s ballroom scene. She posted the trailblazing cover on her Instagram account, with a message saying she hopes it “empowers those who are struggling to be seen, feel valued. Let me be a messenger guiding us to a future of respect and appreciation for all women in all forms and from all walks of life.”
Finally, (play-by-play call)
PROKOP: Hi everyone. Well, the past year and a half has been crazy. It has also given me the chance to find my true self. I’m no longer scared to hide who I am. Today, I’;m proud to publicly tell everyone that I’m gay.
That’s Luke Prokop reading the first few lines of his Twitter post for ESPN. The 19 year-old Nashville Predators prospect is the first active player under National Hockey League contract to come out. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 217 pounds, he was an alternate captain on the Calgary Hitmen in Western Hockey League play in the 2020 – 2021 season. Prokop enjoys the support of his family, his teammates, the team’s front office, and the league. He was interviewed at length by ESPN’s Emily Kaplan:
PROKOP: Being able to go to the rink and the gym every day, and just being able to focus on getting better, getting stronger, getting faster, getting more powerful, and not having to think if other people know or don’t know. It’s gonna make me so much more confident and so much more free, and I’ll just be able to focus on trying to be the best hockey player I can be. (play-by-play call) I’m finally going to be able to breathe and exhale and show the world the real me. And I’m so excited to see where that will take me, not only as a hockey player, but as a person as well.
We’re all rooting for top National Hockey League prospect Luke Prokop.
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