Ousted Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David fights the organization in the wake of the controversy surrounding resigned New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal (including analysis by “GayUSA’s” Andy Humm and Ann Northrop, with excerpts from David’s exclusive interview on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart”).
We remember pop star and preacher Archbishop Carl Bean, founding prelate of Unity Fellowship, who describes his 1978 hit song “I Was Born This Way” as his first sermon.
Plus cooking “out” with celebrity foodie James Beard in a “Rainbow Minute” (produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns, read by Michael Maszaros).
And in NewsWrap: Zurich Pride pushes Swiss marriage equality, Panama’s high court nixes gay Colombian wedding, Missouri Republican howling “disappears” a Capitol queer exhibit, Iowa students defend a bi teacher’s honesty, and more international LGBTQ news.
All this and more on the September 13, 2021 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of September 13, 2021
Program #1,746 distributed 09/13/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): More than 20,000 people march for marriage equality in the annual LGBTQ Pride Parade in Zurich, Switzerland ahead of a national referendum on the issue … Panama’s Supreme Court of Justice continues to defy the Inter-American Court of Human Rights 2017 order to open civil marriage to same-gender couples … anger and a questionable defense surrounds the quick removal of an LGBTQ History exhibit at the Missouri State Capitol … rainbow Pride flag displays get teachers in Missouri and Iowa in hot water … a fired gay Charlotte, North Carolina Catholic school teacher wins his discrimination lawsuit and awaits a court ruling on how much he’ll be compensated … some queer heroes from the horrific events on 9/11 are remembered, including Father Mychal Judge, whose admirers resume lobbying the Vatican to declare him a saint (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by JOE BOEHNLEIN and ELENA BOTKIN-LEVY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: James Beard, American Food Authority is profiled in this Rainbow Minute (produced by JUDD PROCTOR and BRIAN BURNS, read by MICHAEL MASZAROS).
Feature: The fiery fall of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo amid sexual harassment allegations engulfed a few LGBTQ leaders. Roberta Kaplan and Tina Tchen of the anti-harassment group Time’s Up were forced to resign. Their names came up in the report of state Attorney General Letitia James in connection with efforts to smear one of Cuomo’s accusers. So did the name of Alphonso David, who was fired last week as President of the Human Rights Campaign after refusing to step down. He had called on the organization’s Board to contract for an independent report into his actions. GayUSA’s ANDY HUMM and ANN NORTHROP discussed the tangled drama that followed; and David defended himself during an exclusive interview on MSNBC’s The Sunday Show With Jonathan Capehart (with brief outro music by EDWIN STARR).
Feature: Archbishop Carl Bean died on September 7th. He was known around the world for his 1978 hit song I Was Born This Way, which inspired the similarly titled hit by Lady Gaga. Bean’s recording career actually began four years earlier, when he formed the R&B-gospel-mixing group Universal Love for All You Need Is Love. Although Bean said that the group was “ahead of the curve,” he drew the attention of Motown producers, who matched him with the Bunny Jones song that had previously been recorded by Valentino. Despite the success of I Was Born This Way, Bean turned down a Motown career and moved to a different calling. Ordained in 1982, he became the founding prelate of a network of African-American LGBTQ churches, Unity Fellowship — although the way he describes it in one sermon, it was not a very different calling after all.
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending September 11, 2021
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Joe Boehnlein and Elena Botkin-Levy,
produced by Brian DeShazor
More than 20,000 people marched in the annual Zurich, Switzerland LGBTQ Pride Parade on September 4th proclaiming, “You can do it. Marriage for everyone now.”
Each house of the Swiss parliament voted for a “Marriage for All” bill by more than 2-to-1 margins in December.
However conservative opponents petitioned to force a public referendum on the issue, scheduled for September 26th.
The Alpine nation currently only offers lesbian and gay couples civil unions. It’s one of the few Western European countries without marriage equality.
The referendum asks Swiss voters to approve marriage equality as well as adoptions rights. It also includes access to sperm donations for lesbians and a path to Swiss citizenship for foreign partners.
A public opinion poll sponsored by the Swiss queer advocacy organization Pink Cross in November 2020 found a whopping 82 per cent of respondents supported marriage equality.
Panama’s Supreme Court of Justice unjustly refused to consider yet another marriage equality case on September 7th. This one was filed after the National Directorate Civil Registry of the Electoral Tribunal declined to register a Panamanian gay couple who had legally married in neighboring Colombia in August of 2017.
The decision by the Central American nation’s high court defies a 2017 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. It ordered all members of the Organization of American States like Panama that had not opened civil marriage to same-gender couples to do so.
Panama’s Supreme Court has refused to hear marriage equality cases since 2016.
The couple is identified in the La Prensa newspaper as Juan Francisco Alonso González and Juan David Parra Duque.
Their lawyer Carlos Ernesto González Ramírez told the newspaper that they will now go to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for “denial of justice.”
Missouri homophobes have forced the removal of an exhibit about the LGBTQ rights movement in Kansas City from the state Capitol. The traveling exhibit created by historians at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is entitled “Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights.” It opened on August 30th for its planned four-month run in the Missouri State Museum, located on the first floor of the state Capitol. Two days later it was pulled after some Republicans howled that it “promoted homosexuality.”
State Senator Greg Razer is the chamber’s only openly queer member, and was “appalled” that the exhibit had suddenly disappeared. Razer demanded an explanation from the State Parks officials who manage the Museum, and from their boss, Director DruBuntin of the Department of Natural Resources.
Spokeswoman Connie Patterson claimed that the exhibit was removed because the Department did not follow a state law that requires it to coordinate Museum activities with the Board of Public Buildings. Republican Governor Mike Parson offered the same rationale.
That seemed like “a convenient excuse” to state Senator Razer. He told the Kansas City Star, “I think it is the epitome of cancel culture that they just want to cancel my history. … Thirty years ago there wouldn’t be an openly gay man in the state Senate.”
The Missouri Independent did some digging, and found that The Board of Public Buildings had never discussed Museum exhibits in the past five years. A former Museum director told the paper that “in 24 years he never had to seek approval from the Board regarding exhibits.”
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade bluntly called the official excuse “a lie.” In a letter to Natural Resources Department Director Dru Buntin, she wrote, “If you stick to your story that the LBGTQ exhibit had to come down because the Board of Public Buildings didn’t approve it, then to be consistent … that means stripping the Missouri State Museum bare.” Quade charged that failure to restore the exhibit to the Museum would be “tacit admission that you and the governor have caved to homophobia and engaged in content-based discrimination — the very thing your lie was intended to avoid.”
John Wallis used to teach speech, theatre, and world mythology at Missouri’s Neosho Junior High School. He was forced to resign after a few parents complained that the proudly gay man was “teaching his students to be gay” or that he was “pushing [his] agenda in the classroom.”
Just how did Wallis do all that? In his words, “I had signs above my whiteboards that read ‘In This Classroom EVERYONE is Welcome’, and an LGBTQ+ Pride flag on my bookshelf.”
He insists that, “nothing was ever taught about the flag,” and describes it as “a reflection of my classroom as a safe space for my LGBTQIA+ students.”
In a letter to Wallis obtained by the Springfield News-Leader, District Superintendent Jim Cummins ordered him to take down the signs and the Pride flag. Cummins wrote, “Our classrooms cannot become a personal platform for pushing one’s personal agenda. [I]fyou are unable to present the curriculum in a manner that keeps your personal agenda on sexuality out of your narrative and the classroom discussions, we will ultimately terminate your employment.”
The News-Leader says Wallis has filed a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.
A Pride flag also got an Iowa high school teacher in trouble – and his students are getting into “good trouble” on his behalf. Literacy teacher Lucas Kaufmann kicked off the school year by sharing a “Things that describe me” presentation with his students. The Pride flag was one of the slides. When his students asked directly, he responded honestly that he’s bisexual. The conservative Iowa Standard website pounced.
Winterset Community School District Superintendent Justin Gross refused to provide specifics, but confirmed to the “Des Moines Register” that Kaufmann was on administrative leave after concerns about his presentation had been raised.
More than a hundred of Kaufmann’s students walked out of class on September 7th in protest. Some had Pride flags draped over their shoulders. 10th-grader Kiona Newbrough launched a Change.orgpetition demanding “Justice for Mr. Kaufmann and LGBT+ community.” The petition reads in part, “He admitted to his students after being asked, that he was bisexual. … He wanted to make sure that the LGBTQ+ students at the school know that he was a safe person to talk to and an ally for them. It is absolutely unjust and downright disgusting that government officials have now made this whole situation political.”
As of September 11th, more than 3,100 people have signed the petition.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese illegally fired a gay North Carolina teacher after he announced his engagement on Facebook, according to a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn, Junior ruled that when Charlotte Catholic High School and the diocese dismissed Lonnie Billard they violated last year’s U.S. Supreme Court Bostock ruling. That decision banned workplace bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
According to local TV station WCNC, Cogburn’s ruling notes Billard’spositive work evaluations, and his Inspirational Educator Award from North Carolina State University. Charlotte Catholic itself honored him as Teacher of the Year in 2012.
The diocese argued that Billard was advocating against Roman Catholic Church doctrine, but the judge pointed out that he taught Drama and English, which are secular subjects.
A trial will now determine how much compensation Billard should get. He’s asking for back pay and benefits, punitive damages, and compensatory damages for emotional distress. He also wants school and diocesan officials enjoined from doing to others what they did to him.
Billard told the Charlotte Observer, “I don’t think anyone should be fired for who they love. … I just wanted to teach.”
Finally, let’s remember some queer heroes of September 11th, as millions commemorate the 20th anniversary of those horrific events.
National Gay Pilots Association member and American Airlines co-pilot David Charlebois was on Flight 77, which the terrorists crashed into the Pentagon.
On board United Airlines Flight 93 from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, gay public relations executive and rugby enthusiast Mark Bingham is believed to have been among the passengers who rose up and forced their plane to crash in an empty field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, instead of either the White House or the U.S. Capitol.
Daniel Brandhorst and Ronald Gamboa of California also died aboard that United Airlines flight with their three-year-old son, David Brandhorst.
Father Mychal Judge served as a Roman Catholic chaplain for the New York City Fire Department, and died in the Twin Towers collapse giving the last rites to a fallen firefighter at the scene. Queer Catholics and their supporters resumed lobbying the Vatican this week to officially canonize the Franciscan priest as a saint. Jesuit priest James Martin told the Associated Press that Father Judge proved “that you can be gay and holy.”
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