Bar Mitzvah Teacher and Radical Faerie Kim Gotlieb discusses ancient and contemporary interpretations of queer-related writings in the Jewish tradition at a multi-faith webinar organized by Ambassadors and Bridge Builders International (Part 2 of 3).
British diver Tom Daley’s thoughts about being out and proud in the Tokyo Olympics at a press conference shortly after winning his first gold medal represent the feelings of the record number of LGBTQ participants in the Games.
And in NewsWrap: Ghana lawmakers draft draconian anti-queer bill, record-breaking Budapest Pride defies Hungary’s homophobia, Poland hate map makers sued for slander by “LGBT Free Zones,” Colorado Christian web designer’s religious bias case crashes, Virginia court throws state pro-trans policies to local school boards, Nebraska villains threaten Drag Queens before Story Hour, Florida-based anti-queer hate group fails to prove it isn’t one, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Michael Taylor-Gray and Melanie Keller (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this and more on the August 2, 2021 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of August 2, 2021
Radical Faerie Meets Jewish Texts
PROGRAM #1,740 DISTRIBUTED 08/02/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): “The most homophobic document the world has ever seen” introduced in Ghana’s Parliament would imprison anyone simply for being LGBTQ for five years, and anyone who expresses support for queer rights for 10 years … an record 30,000+ people defiantly march in Budapest’s annual LGBTQ Pride Parade to festively oppose P.M. Viktor Orban’s recently-enacted “no promo homo” laws [with comments by one English-speaking Pride-goer] … four Polish activists are sued for slander by 6 local “LGBT-Free Zones” identified as hubs of homophobia on the activists’ interactive map Atlas of Hate … a federal appeals court upholds a ruling that a Colorado web designer who says her Christian faith prevents her from creating wedding websites for queer couples violates state anti-discrimination laws … a Virginia judge upholds the state Education Department’s new pro-active policies to accommodate transgender students … death threats force the cancellation of a Drag Queen Story Hour event at the Lincoln, Nebraska Children’s Museum … a federal appeals court rejects a slander lawsuit filed by virulently anti-LGBTQ Florida-based Coral Ridge Ministries against the Southern Poverty Law Center for designating them as an anti-queer hate group … and will late 1970’s “Save Our Children” campaigner Anita Bryant come to her granddaughter’s “little corner of the world” wedding? (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY and MELANIE KELLER, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: If all the out athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics were representing Queer Nation as a country, they’d be ranking 7th overall in the medal count as of August 1st according to OutSports. The LGBTQ participants have collected six gold medals, seven silver and six bronze. Shot-putter Raven Saunders also scored the most prominent protest at the Games. The Team USA silver-medalist crossed her arms over her head on the podium, signifying an “X” for intersectionality. Notable firsts include trans official Kimberly Daniels and trans-enby soccer player Quinn, both from Canada. At a press conference celebrating his first gold medal (10m synchronized platform diving with teammate Matty Lee), Team Britain’s four-time Olympic diver Tom Daley offered some inspirational words (with intro/outro music by QUEEN) and a TWO ID by out Olympic multi-medalist GREG LOUGANIS).
Feature: Last time on This Way Out, Australian former Pentecostal preacher Anthony Venn-Brown clobbered anti-queer “clobber passages” as one part of a multi-faith webinar hosted by his organization, Ambassadors and Bridge Builders International. Our Sydney correspondent BARRY McKAY brings us more excerpts from the interfaith webinar, this time featuring Jewish Bar Mitzvah Teacher and Radical Faerie Kim Gotlieb (with series theme music by NORMAN GREENBAUM and instrumental music by THE KLEZMATICS).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending July 17, 2021 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Michael Taylor-Gray and Melanie Keller, produced by Brian DeShazor
“The most homophobic document the world has ever seen.” That’s what LGBTQ people and their allies in Ghana are calling a draft of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill. It would punish anyone for simply being LGBTQ to five years in prison. Anyone who advocates for LGBTQ people could be sentenced to 10 years. It also bans online platforms and media companies from posting or running any messages in support of LGBTQ people. Same-gender sex is already against the law in Ghana, currently punishable with up to three years in prison.
Just ahead of the filing of the bill, Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin declared the “LGBT+ pandemic” in the West African nation to be “worse than COVID-19.”
Danny Bediako of the queer advocacy group Rightify Ghana called the proposal “a homophobe’s dream law.” He told Reuters that, “People are even scared to go out now, and some members say they will leave the country if the bill is passed into law. Even those who want to help us will be afraid.”
Wendy Isaack of Human Rights Watch explained to The Washington Post, “It criminalizes everything, from being a person who engages in same-sex conduct to identifying as a transgender person to being an ally of LGBTQ individuals. People are absolutely terrified.”
Before the introduction of the draconian bill, there was the recent forced shuttering of a fledgling queer rights group. Escalating raids on queer venues have followed, netting multiple arrests on trumped-up charges.
A timetable for debate and a vote on the bill has not been announced. Reportedly it has major support in Parliament, especially among members of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s ruling New Patriotic Party.
Bold defiance against Hungary’s mushrooming homophobia was on the march in Budapest’s annual LGBTQ Pride Parade.
Crowd estimates exceeding 30,000 on July 24th far eclipse previous attendance records.
The throngs were reacting to the recent “no promo homo” law pushed through parliament by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. It outlaws any supportive representation of LGBTQ people in schools or on television. Its inclusion in a measure against pedophilia gave lawmakers little choice in voting for it.
Politico described the “mostly youthful marchers” as “festive” despite the attempted repression. Signs mocking Orban and his Fidesz political party mixed with rainbow flags. More rainbows adorned balconies on buildings along the parade route.
Several members of the European Parliament joined the march. Rabble-rousing remarks by an unidentified Pride participant were posted on the New York Times website:
[sound:] “I cannot tell you how long it is going to take until we have full equality in our societies, also here in Hungary. But I can tell you one thing: there will be a moment in your life. In this moment you will look back to us standing here together on this square. And no matter how difficult the situation will be, no matter how grim the times will look, you are going to look back and you will remember that at least on this day, we stood here together and we fought. We fought for our rights. We fought for democracy, we fought for rule of law, we fought for our freedom, and we fought for dignity.” [drums fade out]
Prime Minister Orban has countered sanctions threatened by the E.U. with a public vote on the new law – although no date for the referendum has been announced. Orban is up for re-election in April.
In neighboring Poland, four activists are being sued for publishing an inter-active map of more than a hundred local governments in the country that have declared themselves to be “LGBT-Free Zones.” The color-coded Atlas of Hate identifies three categories: green areas have rejected “LGBT-Free Zone” proposals; amber areas designate anti-queer lobbying by far-right activists; red areas are official “LGBT-Free Zones.”
Jakub Gawron, Kamil Maczuga, Paulina Pajak and Pawel Preneta are the co-creators of the Atlas of Hate. They’re being sued for slander by local politicians in six red “LGBT-Free Zones.” The volunteers face aggregate fines topping the equivalent of 43 thousand U.S. dollars. One news outlet says that’s more than the combined “day job” salaries of all four of them.
The activists are getting legal and financial support from a number of human rights groups, including Poland’s Campaign Against Homophobia and the global advocacy group All Out.
A Christian web designer who refuses to create queer wedding websites saw her appeal thrown out this week. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-to-1. Lower courts had found that Lorie Smith’s refusal of service violated Colorado’s laws that ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
The issue has never actually come up in her business, but Smith cites her religious beliefs. She is represented by the far-right legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, which also defended the faith-based bigotry of Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips.
The Alliance says it will appeal this week’s decision against Smith.
The policies of the Virginia Department of Education for transgender student accommodations have survived a legal test. Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge J. Frederick Watson dismissed a challenge this week to the Department’s plans for the coming school year. It was filed by some parents represented by the Christian Action Network with the backing of other religious right groups.
Under the policies, trans students are allowed to use the campus bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. They should also have their preferred gender pronouns and names respected.
The plaintiffs claimed that the policies violate their First Amendment freedom of speech and religion rights.
Equality Virginia and the ACLU of Virginia were among more than 50 advocacy groups that filed “friend of the court” briefs encouraging its rejection of the case.
The Education Department’s trans student policies have no enforcement provisions, however, according to the Virginia-Pilot. So the start of the new school year looms while the fight continues with officials at the local school board level debating how to implement the policies — or if they will.
Once upon a time, the advocacy group Out Nebraska scheduled a Drag Queen Story Hour. The private, after-hours event at the Lincoln Children’s Museum was scheduled for July 24th with about 50 attendees expected.
But the Museum announced the cancellation of the event on Instagram on July 19th, explaining that, “Over the past few days, the Lincoln Children’s Museum and event host Out Nebraska have both received an overwhelming number of threats of violence against our organizations, many going so far as death threats.” Both groups agreed to the cancellation after consulting with police officials.
Officer Luke Bonkiewicz refused to provide details about the threats or how they were made – whether in social media posts, email messages, or phone calls. He did say that there was genuine concern for the safety and wellbeing of potential attendees, and that the threats were being investigated.
As of July 27th, the Lincoln Journal-Star reported that there had been no arrests.
The Florida-based Coral Ridge Ministries is an anti-LGBTQ hate group. Calling them one is not defamation. This week the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the mega-church, also known as D. James Kennedy Ministries.
The plaintiffs demanded damages from the Southern Poverty Law Center for their “hate group” designation, which made them ineligible for charitable AmazonSmile donations.
A unanimous three-judge panel decided that the progressive watchdog group’s action did not involve “actual malice,” and that Coral Ridge, et al, had failed to make a convincing argument to support their case.
A Southern Poverty Law Center press release said that, “The fact that Coral Ridge claims its statements about the LGBT community are biblically based doesn’t immunize it from criticism. We have a First Amendment right to express our opinions, just as Coral Ridge has a right to express its opinions.”
Finally … should Sarah Green invite “grandma” to her wedding? “Grandma” is former beauty queen and pop singer Anita Bryant. In the late 1970’s, Bryant led a campaign in Florida to allegedly “Save Our Children” from being “recruited” into the “homosexual lifestyle.” Her holy crusade went national, essentially launching the religious right’s attack on LGBTQ rights in the United States that continues to this day.
So what should Anita Bryant’s granddaughter do about her upcoming wedding? She told an episode of the “Slate” podcast One Year that she “probably will eventually just call her and ask if she even wants an invitation, because … I don’t know if she would be offended if I didn’t invite her.”
She said that Bryant once told her to have faith that “the right man would come along.” That’s not how it turned out. Sarah Green’s financé is a woman.
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