Fox News host Tucker Carlson takes pout shots at Assistant U.S. Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine’s swearing in as the nation’s first transgender four-star admiral and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s paternity leave.
Transgender eight-year-old Sunny Bryant pleads for her right to exist before Texas legislators, and her mother Bekah vows to continue the fight.
Daniel “James Bond” Craig reveals his penchant for gay bars and confesses to villainous kisses with “No Time To Die” co-star Rami Malek.
And in NewsWrap: Ghana’s drastic anti-LGBTQ bill draws drastic reactions, Botswana’s government seeks to overturn a pro-queer sex ruling, the South Korean military appeals court-ordered trans rights, Poland escalates its battle against European justice, a Western Australia Supreme Court judge emancipates an abused trans teen, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and Joe Boehnlein (produced by Brian DeShazor).
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Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of October 25, 2021
Carlson’s Disses, Sunny’s Wishes, Craig’s Kisses!
Program #1,752 distributed 10/25/21
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Pressure mounts on Ghanian lawmakers to pass what’s being called “the most homophobic document the world has ever seen” … Botswana’s government appeals a lower court ruling decriminalizing same-gender sex … South Korea’s Defense Ministry appeals a district court ruling ordering the recognition of now deceased discharged trans woman soldier Byun Hui-su as a woman, and her official reinstatement … the Polish government escalates its battle with the European Commission over the supremacy of E.U. law … anti-queer Russia actually bans as “extremist” an especially odious homophobic, misogynistic, racist group, but Vladimir Putin rejects the existence of transgender people … the Western Australia Supreme Court affirms the right of a suicidal trans teen, who was verbally and physically abused by family members over his gender identity, to “divorce” his parents (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by TANYA KANE-PARRY and JOE BOEHNLEIN, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR)
Feature: Trailblazing Assistant U.S. Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine achieved another landmark on October 12th. She’s now the nation’s first transgender four-star admiral. The hero of the COVID-19 pandemic as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Levine was appointed to her federal post by President Joe Biden and approved by the Congress in January. The rank of admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is linked to that position. Levine acknowledged the significance of the moment after her swearing in ceremony (with intro/outro music from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corp March performed by the U.S. COAST GUARD BAND); but Fox News host Tucker Carlson was left clutching his pearls (with parts of the Mr. Ed TV theme song).
Feature: Tucker Carlson got his homophobic knickers in a twist more than once this week. The snarky Fox News host laid into Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for taking paternity leave after he and husband Chasten adopted baby twins. Buttigieg offered some fatherly wisdom in response to Carlson’s infantile whining (with intro/outro music by MICHAEL BUBLÉ).
Feature: Thanks to her many trips to the TEXAS state legislature, 8-year-old trans girl SUNNY BRYANT of HOUSTON has become an expert at testifying before lawmakers. Sunny’s mother brought her trans daughter all the way to the state capitol in AUSTIN to plead for her rights against HB25, a ban on trans girls and women participating in school sports programs. Sunny and her mom BEKAH discussed their emotional roller coaster ride with local Houston TV station ABC-13 (with intro music performed by THE NATIONAL YOUTH BRASS BAND OF GRAT BRITAIN and outro music from “A CHORUS LINE”).
Feature: Daniel “James Bond” Craig is revealing his recreational preferences and more during the promotional tour for his new movie, No Time To Die. First stop: a chat with BRUCE BOZZI on SiriusXM’s Lunch with Bruce podcast; Craig and his villainous co-star in the latest Bond adventure Rami Malek raised eyebrows on CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert when they discussed the “intimacy” of their rehearsal style; the smooching spies elaborated during a chat with Entertainment Weekly (with music and sound from the movie trailer)
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending October 23, 2021 Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Tanya Kane-Parry and Joe Boehnlein, produced by Brian DeShazor
The threat of a mass demonstration is turning up the pressure on the Ghanaian government to pass the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021.” It’s “the most homophobic document the world has ever seen” according to the queer advocacy group Rightify Ghana.
All expressions of LGBTQ identity, ally support, and medical care for transgender people would be outlawed. Same-gender sex is already a crime from the colonial era, but the law currently under consideration by a parliamentary committee would even ban sex toys. Public submissions have been requested.
One such “submission” comes from Osagyefo Agyemang Badu II, president of the Bono Regional House of Chiefs. The regional tribal leader is threatening to storm parliament with 10,000 followers if the government fails to pass the bill. He said in a speech this week, “I want them to know that it’s not a few people that are supporting … the bill, but that chiefs in this country are strongly behind [it]. Pastors and [a] majority of Ghanaians are against the LGBT+, saying a man cannot marry man and woman cannot marry a woman because how can they give birth and multiply in the world.” With hate-twisted logic, he added that he would be happy to let same-gender couples marry, in his words, “with a condition that they will be killed if they fail to give birth within a year.”
Araba Forson is the mother of the popular Ghanaian transgender singer Angel Maxine. During a recent interview they voiced strong opposition to the bill, and Forson promised a unique response to Chief Badu’s threat to storm parliament. She said she’ll walk naked into parliament to protest if the homophobic bill is adopted in the West African nation.
In Southern Africa, the government of Botswana is appealing a 2019 ruling that overturned laws against consensual adult same-gender sex. Attorneys for university student Letsweletse Motshidiemang had argued that same-gender love has become more accepted in Botswanan society. They said that the laws making it punishable by up to seven years in prison should be repealed.
Sydney Pilane of the Attorney General’s office argued for the government that there is no evidence of such a societal change. He said, “People don’t hate or dislike gays, they simply just don’t approve of what they do. It is not the court’s responsibility to gauge whether people’s attitude towards gay sex has changed. That responsibility should be placed with parliament to change laws.”
Judges of the Court of Appeal have delayed announcing their ruling on the government’s appeal. On October 12th they advised that the issue needs further research and discussion.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry has decided to appeal a district court order to reinstate the late trans soldier Byun Hui-su. A military official said that the Army is asking the Justice Ministry for a decision on the matter because it needed a higher court to review the issue. The Justice Ministry is responsible for reviewing lawsuits pursued by the state.
Earlier this month the district court ruled that the Army must recognize Byun as a woman, and overturn its discharge of the former staff sergeant as “disabled.” Two years after she had voluntarily enlisted as a male, Byun requested a transfer to a female unit after her reassignment surgery in 2019. She was booted from the service instead. Byun killed herself in March before the ruling in her favor, but her family has continued her lawsuit.
According to the South Korean news service KBS, several human rights groups had urged the military to accept the pro-trans ruling – to no avail. It reports that, “1,168 citizens and 239 organizations were named in petitions and comments calling for the appeal to be waived.” KBS also noted that at least two-dozen other countries around the world now welcome military service by transgender people, recently including the United States.
During a tense confrontation in the European Parliament this week, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that his country “will not be blackmailed.” Morawiecki charged that the European Court of Justice was leading a “creeping revolution” intended to undermine Poland’s sovereignty.
Declarations of “LGBT-Free Zones” within the eastern European country and the E.U.’s forceful opposition to them had already strained relations. Tensions escalated following a Polish court ruling that national law takes precedence over E.U. law. The European Commission soon shot back with a strong statement asserting E.U. legal supremacy over its member nations.
Still Morawiecki insisted, “The primacy of E.U. law does not extend to the constitutional system. The Polish constitution is the highest legal act in Poland; it stands above any other principle of law.”
If the resistance continues, the Commission could follow through on threatened sanctions against Poland, which include the withholding of E.U. funding.
Some E.U. leaders are reportedly urging patience, however. Out-going German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others advise the Commission to engage in further dialogue with Polish authorities. The BBC reports that Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda has offered to mediate the dispute. He warns that linking rule of law issues with funding could inflict “unimaginable harm to E.U. unity.”
The government of Russia has outlawed as “extremist” the Male State, a far-right hate group that has sponsored abusive campaigns against women’s rights, minorities, and LGBTQ people. Its manifesto identifies the group as “a radical patriarchy with the goal of changing the constitutional order.” The Russian police’s anti-extremism unit says it’s a group that “opposes the current political regime and believes that the Russian authorities are organizing a genocide of the male population.” You can probably underscore opposition to Putin as a key factor.
When journalist Anna Mongait interviewed a same-gender couple for her TV program in July, the Male State threatened to “kill” her children. The group was seriously outraged by a sushi restaurant ad that had the temerity to feature both rainbow colors and a Black man.
The “extremist” designation means that the group is banned in Russia. Members face jail time if they’re convicted of organizing any Male State actions. It joins other banned extremist groups that include followers of leading political dissident Alexei Navalny, the Islamic State, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Meanwhile, the king of his own little “male state” urged Russians to maintain their “spiritual values and historical traditions,” and to reject the “sociocultural disturbances” of the West. In a speech this week President Vladimir Putin called teaching students that, “a boy can become a girl and vice versa [is] on the verge of a crime against humanity.”
Finally, a transgender teen in Western Australia is now free of his abusive parents. In upholding the boy known as “TM’s” emancipation, Chief Justice Peter Quinlan noted that his parents “did not and do not wish” to acknowledge TM’s gender identity. Quinlan found that, “The best interests of TM were, as a matter of law, the paramount consideration. All other considerations were secondary.”
TM first came to the attention of the Western Australian Department of Communities in 2019 after he was treated at Perth Children’s Hospital for being suicidal. He told social workers that he didn’t feel safe at home because of his family’s “verbal and emotional abuse” over his trans identity. He also said he had been physically abused by his brother. The hospital officially diagnosed TM with gender dysphoria. A psychiatrist’s report found that TM was “at a high risk of completed suicide” if he remained at home. TM was over the age of 16 when a magistrate issued the protective order removing him from his parent’s custody. They appealed that decision to the Western Australia Supreme Court.
Criminology research associate Benjamin Scott told the Sydney Star Observer that the ruling is a good first step. His concern is that, “it does not actively prevent harms to trans and gender diverse children. It is only once these cases reach courts that this new precedent can have any impact. … Further, whether this decision is followed in other jurisdictions in Australia, is another question.”
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