The historic state Supreme Court hearings on California’s anti-marriage equality Proposition 8 ten years ago this week demonstrated the influence of the judiciary in real time.
OutCasting Overtime’s queer youth team shares thoughts about the objectification of women in the media, and its particular impact on lesbian and bisexual women.
And in NewsWrap: China’s government censors “girlie” men, Hong Kong political puppets flag Gay Games play, Pakistani politician pulls down BTS “promo homo” billboard, Australian lawmakers reject trans job protections, 20 U.S. states buck Biden’s pro-queer policy.
All this and more on the September 6, 2021 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of September 6, 2021
Program #1,745 distributed 09/06/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): China bans “effeminate” men from television as the government ratchets up its repression of LGBTQ people and culture, while Beijing-friendly lawmakers in Hong Kong attack the upcoming Gay Games, scheduled for November 2022 in their city, which will be the first ever Games to be held in Asia; a Pakistan political candidate outrages “the ARMY”, fans of the South Korean boy band BTS, after he has a huge billboard at a busy intersection in the city of Gujranwala celebrating the 24th birthday of one of the BTS members, Jeon Jungkook, taken down for “promoting homosexuality”; the Australian government, dominated by a coalition of politically conservative parties and led by right-leaning Liberal P.M. Scott Morrison, rejects a proposal to add trans, gender diverse and intersex people to workplace anti-bias protections that already protect people based on race, disability, gender, and sexual orientation; 20 U.S. states dominated by Republicans sue 2 agencies of the Biden administration for enforcing guidance based on last year’s Supreme Court Bostock ruling that ostensibly banned bias against LGBTQ people; and, tired of waiting for an as yet-unfulfilled 2019 promise by New York City officials to build a monument to trans activists and Stonewall veterans Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, activists install a bust of the trailblazing Johnson on what would have been her 75th birthday in Stonewall Inn-adjacent Christopher Park (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MELANIE KELLER & MICHAEL LEBEAU, and produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: The power of the U.S. judiciary to change people’s lives on a dime has never been more evident than it’s been this week. Reproductive rights advocates and women around the country are panicking after the Supreme Court’s decision to leave abortion access vulnerable to partisan state politics. Ten years ago this week, the fate of marriage equality was put into the hands of a state high court by a partisan-driven battle royal. Pacifica Radio’s CHRISTOPHER MARTINEZ reported from SAN FRANCISCO on that historic courtroom drama (includes comments by opposing attorneys THEODORE OLSON and CHARLES COOPER, CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT JUSTICE JOYCE KENNARD, and original Prop 8 lawsuit plaintiff KRIS PERRY, with intro music by FRANK SINATRA).
Feature: As we’re reporting in “NewsWrap” this week, the Chinese government has issued a directive to eliminate the allegedly negative influence of so-called “effeminate men” from television. Way on the other side of the coin, ISHA, a queer youth commentator from “OUTCASTING OVERTIME”, is thinking about the negative influence of the objectification of women’s bodies in the media (produced by MARC SOPHOS; with “TWO”-added intro music by JORDIN SPARKS). [www.mfpg.org]
– Brief BUTTIGIEG BABIES adoptions congrats (with music by THE RONETTES).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending September 4, 2021 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Melanie Keller and Michael Lebeau, produced by Brian DeShazor.
The Chinese government is banning “effeminate men” from appearing on television. The National Radio and TV Administration told broadcasters this week to “resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics” – actually using the pejorative term “niang pao,” in the edict. That’s literally, “girlie guns.”
As part of President Xi Jinping’s campaign of “national rejuvenation,” broadcasters must now “vigorously promote excellent Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture,” according to the Associated Press.
They must also avoid promoting “vulgar internet celebrities” and their accumulation of wealth.
Reducing the influence of male South Korean and Japanese singers and actors it deems not “masculine” enough seems to be the Chinese government’s particular obsession.
The Education Ministry had already announced plans to increase physical education classes and school sports to promote the “masculinity” of so-called “effeminate” boys.
The new rules also prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from playing more than three hours of online games a week, and bans any play on school days.
This week’s actions seem to continue the government’s crackdown on LGBTQ people and culture. Queer content on popular social media platforms recently “disappeared,” and this week, China’s version of Snapchat was hit. QQ has banned the words “gay,” “lesbian” and “LGBTQ,” as Pink News reported. Those search words triggered a warning message that first said, “Use the internet in a civil manner. Say no to harmful information.” Now it just says, “no results found.”
Meanwhile, several pro-Beijing lawmakers in Hong Kong are renewing their objections to the upcoming Gay Games. Set to be the first Games to ever be held in Asia, they’re scheduled in the city for November of next year.
Rightwing lawmaker Peter Shiu said that, “We can tolerate homosexuality. But we should not promote it.” Shiu’s colleague Priscilla Leung believes that the Games threaten to “tear society apart.” Legislator Junius Ho commented that, “Whatever you do in your room, it’s your own business. But if you do it in public, it’s disgraceful.” In his opinion the almost one billion Hong Kong dollars expected to flow into the city as a result of the Games would be “dirty money.” Earlier this year Ho claimed that opening civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples would promote “bestiality and incest.”
Gay Games organizers are resisting the negativity. Director of Fundraising and Partnerships Christof Wittig told the Sydney Star Observer, “I think these comments continue to demonstrate why we need the Gay Games, and why we need them in Asia.” Co-chair Dennis Philipse said, “We are confident in and remain committed to holding the Games in Hong Kong.”
Anti-queer political rhetoric notwithstanding, the most recent public opinion polls show an increasing acceptance of LGBTQ people in Hong Kong.
However Taiwan Gay Games officials are saying that they will not be sending their athletes to Hong Kong next year because of fear for their safety.
Homophobia bordering on the absurd has reached Pakistan.
An Islamist political party member had a large billboard at a busy intersection in the city of Gujranwala taken down. It celebrated the birthday of Jeon Jungkook of the hugely popular South Korean boy band BTS.
Furqan Aziz Butt of the Jamaat-e-Islami Party is running for the provincial assembly. He charges that BTS “has a negative influence on [young people in this city] and encourages them to behave in wrong activities. They promote homosexuality.” Butt had the tribute removed a few hours after it had been called to his attention on Facebook.
The billboard was paid for by Pakistani members of the worldwide BTS fan club known as “the ARMY.” After a brief celebration of the colorful billboard showing a picture of Jungkook and wishing him “Happy 24th birthday” from “Jungkook BTS Gujranwala ARMY,” members have angrily tweeted about its sudden removal. Zainab Zaman is a 24-year-old student and fan from Islamabad. He wrote, “Older people are of the opinion that their physical features and attire are too feminine … BTS has never used vulgar verses in their songs. They are just about loving yourself and being happy.”
While none of the seven BTS members are openly gay, Pink News says that they have made statements in support of LGBTQ rights.
Australia’s government scuttled efforts this week to protect trans, gender diverse and intersex people from workplace discrimination. The proposed amendments to the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 were supported by the Labor and Green parties.
Liberal Party Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s coalition of rightwing parties controls Parliament. Attorney General Michaelia Cash claimed that protections based on “gender identity and sex characteristics” were not part of the recommendations of the recent “Respect at Work” report, and would “require further consideration.”
Australia already bans bias in the workplace based on race, disability, sex, and sexual orientation. Dr. Charlie Burton of the advocacy group Just Equal Australia argues, “This was a simple, straightforward amendment that would have brought consistency to federal law and would have brought greater job security to trans, gender diverse and intersex Australians.” He pointed to surveys that “… show that transgender Australians experience greater workplace discrimination than gay and lesbian Australians who are already protected.” Burton called the Government’s opposition “hard-hearted.”
Trans, gender diverse and intersex people were not the only people left unprotected. The Sydney Star Observer reports that majority MPs also rejected recommendations that would have shielded women from sexual harassment on the job.
Attorneys General from 20 U.S. states are attacking the Biden administration’s efforts to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. Tennessee A.G. Herbert Slattery is leading the charge from the Republican-controlled states, so their lawsuit was filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The defendants are the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The suit charges that White House guidance to those agencies to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock decision against anti-queer workplace discrimination is illegal. Slattery claims, “This case is about two federal agencies changing law, which is Congress’s exclusive prerogative.”
The other states joining in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. Many of those Republican-controlled states have passed laws limiting the rights of transgender people, mostly to prevent trans athletes from competing in school sports according to their gender identity. Arkansas is also the first state to prohibit gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth. That law and a few of the trans athlete bans have already been blocked by federal judges.
The Biden administration has yet to comment about the lawsuit.
Finally, the late trailblazing Black trans activist Marsha P Johnson would be proud. New York City officials announced plans for a monument to both Johnson and Sylvia Rivera in May, 2019. The Stonewall Rebellion veteran has finally received that honor — because local activists decided to do it themselves.
Queer artist and sex worker Jesse Pallotta created a bust of Johnson, and it was ceremonially installed in Christopher Park near the Stonewall Inn on August 24th, which would have been her 75th birthday.
Writer and activist Eli Erlick told CNN, “We cannot stay idle and wait for the city to build statues for us. … We must create representation by and for our own communities.”
She shared photos of the bust on Twitter, noting that, “It’s the city’s first statue of a trans person and – shockingly – only the 8th statue of a historical woman out of 800 monuments in New York City parks.”
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