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This Way Out Radio Episode #1754: A Mormon Confesses & “Kumar” Comes Out

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

Steven Heard Fales’ "Mormon Boy Trilogy" is set to make an international comeback, ten years after his November, 2011 conversation with This Way Out’s Rosie Wilby (“The Breakup Monologues”) during the London run of “Confessions of a Mormon Boy.”

Kal ”Kumar” Penn goes on a "Harold-free“ queer adventure in his just-published memoir, "You Can’t Be Serious" (including an excerpt from a “way-out” interview with Jake Tapper of "CNN”).

And in NewsWrap: a leading Chinese queer rights group is forced offline, a Bulgarian politician leads a mob attack on an LGBTQ center, hackers breach and release Israeli gay app personal info, the Taliban’s human rights vow excludes LGBTQ Afghans, Cohen "Glitters" and Porter goes "Unprotected" on "Late Night,” and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Sarah Montague and John Dyer V (produced by Brian DeShazor).

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Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of November 8, 2021


A Mormon Confesses & “Kumar” Comes Out

Program #1,75 distributed 11/08/21

Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap (full transcript below): One of China's leading queer advocacy group is forced to cease its online outreach … a far-right Bulgarian presidential candidate leads other thugs in the invasion of an LGBTQ community center in Sofia … hackers release personal sexuality and HIV information about hundreds of thousands of Israeli gay male dating app users … the Taliban confirms its antipathy for LGBTQ people and critics confirm it has a "kill list,” while Canada's Rainbow Railroad helps endangered queers escape Afghanistan … the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal of a discriminatory healthcare chain in the case of a California trans man … gay entertainers Andy Cohen(Glitter Every Day) and Billy Porter (Unprotected) use humor and affirmation to hawktheir new books on CBSLate Night with Stephen Colbert (anchored by SARAH MONTAGUE and JOHN DYER V, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).

Feature: Steven Heard Fales is a gay Mormon with a lot to confess!In fact, the playwright/actor/singer/producer/creativity coach has been developing and performing his epic Mormon Boy Trilogy in various forms for a decade.Fales will be launching a new incarnation of his trilogy in 2022 with an international tour of Part One, Confessions of a Mormon Boy. That’s the one-man show he was performing ten years ago this month when he visited with This Way Out correspondent ROSIE WILBY on her Out in South London show at the studios of Resonance FM (with intro/outro music by R.E.M.).

Feature: You knew him as Dr. Lawrence Kutner in the TV series House with Hugh Laurie, and in a fictional White House as presidential aide Seth Wright in Designated Survivor, here with Rob Morrow. And now Kal Penn has a new memoir.He introduced the book with a message on Instagram — which we embellished with music and a few scenes from his most famous role, starring with John Cho as “Harold,” and Neil Patrick Harris as a version of himself. He has a lot to say in You Can’t Be Serious, and discussed what for some was a revelation in the book with CNN’s JAKE TAPPER (with music from the Harold and Kumar movies by CLASSIC and 86).

NewsWrap: A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending November 6, 2021
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, reported this week by Sarah Montague and John Dyer V, produced by Brian DeShazor

A prominent queer group in China announced on November 4th that it is closing all of its accounts on the country’s most popular social media platforms. It’s not yet clear if LGBT Rights Advocacy China will shutter its physical offices in the city of Guangzhou with the demise of its Queer Advocacy Online accounts on Weibo and WeChat.

Since its founding in 2013, the group has brought a number of lawsuits on behalf of LGBTQ clients in addition to providing supportive services.

Their closing WeChat message read, “Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.There may still be many uncertainties in the future, but we look forward to the day when the clouds have dispersed and we can see the blue sky again.” The authoritarian government of Xi Jinping began turning up the pressure on LGBTQ advocacy in August 2020. That’s when organizers of the popular Shanghai Pride Festival abruptly cancelled the event after 11 successful years.The COVID pandemic was not sited, and no other explanation was given.

Government authorities shut down more than a dozen LGBTQ-supportive social media accounts run by students and NGO’s in July of this year.Then in September, the country’s top media regulator banned depictions of “sissy men” in the media and “gay love” and “effeminate men” in video games.

The forced shutdown of Queer Advocacy Online syncs with an even bigger crackdown.More than three thousand social organizations deemed illegal were targeted by the Ministry of Civil Affairs on November 5th.The official Xinhua News Agency said that the Ministry also shut down some 200 websites and individual social media accounts that were not registered with any government authority.

As we record this newscast, LGBT Rights Advocacy China’s Facebook page remains active. That doesn’t help Chinese queers – Facebook is banned in their country. A far-right Bulgarian presidential candidate faces charges after leading an attack on an LGBTQ community center in the capital of Sofia.

Boyan Rasate was charged on November 3rd with hooliganism and infliction of bodily injury during the invasion of a trans community event at Sofia’s Rainbow Hub on October 30th.Rainbow Hub is run by the Bilitis and the Gays and Lesbians Accepted in Society Foundations. Bilitis Foundation Project Coordinator Gloriya Filipova was hit in the face while the marauding thugs overturned desks and destroyed office equipment.

Rasate leads the Bulgarian National Union, and has been a strident opponent of LGBTQ rights for years.The ultra-nationalist spent time behind bars in 2008 for violating public order at Sofia’s first LGBT Pride Parade, according to Reuters. He faces up to five years in prison for his latest assault.

Leaders from Bulgaria’s major political parties condemned the attack. Ambassadors from the United States, Britain, France, Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands joined others diplomats visiting the Rainbow Hub Center on November 1st in a show of solidarity. Bulgaria’s presidential election is November 14th.

Hackers have released the personal information of hundreds of thousands of users of the Israeli queer dating app Atraf. The hacker group known as Black Shadow dumped the data on November 2nd, after Atraf owner CyberServe failed to meet their one-million-dollar ransom demand within 48 hours.

The theft has created a panic among the app’s mostly male users, those who are closeted about their stolen sexuality and HIV status.Atraf officials would only say that they’re working "intensely" to deal with the hack.

A joint statement from the Israel Internet Association and the Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel advises all Atraf users to change their usernames and passwords, and to contact the police if they get any extortion or ransom demands.Hilda Peer told Agence France Presse that calls to the queer organization’s hotline have doubled.

The Israeli internet host CyberServe provides servers and data storage for a number of other companies in addition to Atraf. Dozens of them have been hit by Black Shadow, which reportedly has links to Iran.

The Taliban confirmed the worst fears of human rights advocates this week.Afghanistan’s new government issued guarantees that it would respect human rights in order to secure the release of billions of dollars in assets stored in the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks in Europe. Those funds were frozen after the fall of the secular government.In seeking relief for the drought-stricken country, Taliban officials vowed to uphold some women’s rights, but they drew the line at sexual and gender minorities.Afghan Central Bank board member Shah Mehrabi told Reuters, “LGBT … That’s against our [Islamic] law.”

Rainbow Railroad is a Canadian-based NGO that’s been helping queer Afghans flee the country. Executive Director Kimahli Powell told Agence France Presse this week, “We now know for sure [that] the Taliban has a ‘kill list’ circulating, identifying LGBTQI+ persons.”Powell worried that Taliban officials are specifically targeting people that international groups are trying to evacuate, and that some are being entrapped by people posing as allies.

The Taliban’s intentions were revealed just hours before a group of 29 LGBTQ+ Afghan refugees arrived in the U.K., thanks to the efforts of Rainbow Railroad, the British government, and the rights group Stonewall.One of the new arrivals told the BBC, “I was very depressed.I was counting my days to die. … I am trying to figure out where to start my new life, but man, I feel safe and free! This is amazing.”

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the appeal of a pro-transgender rights ruling – a victory that was lost in most mainstream coverage of major cases this week. Dignity Health had asked the Justices to overturn a lower court’s decision in favor of Evan Minton. The Roman Catholic Church-affiliated provider operates several hospitals in California, including Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Sacramento County. Minton’s gender affirming hysterectomy there was abruptly cancelled soon after he told a nurse that he is trans.

The high court rejected the hospital’s contention that forcing it to perform procedures contrary to its staff’s religious beliefs would violate their First Amendment rights.The ruling revives Minton’s 2019 lawsuit to pursue his healthcare discrimination claim. Conservative Justices Thomas Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch said they would have heard the case, although the Court customarily does not comment on such decisions. In a statement released through his attorneys, Minton said, “I’ve had multiple medical emergencies and I can’t stand to go to my neighboring Dignity Hospital because of the discrimination I was put through. … I hope Dignity Health will finally take responsibility for what they did to me and what they continue to do.”

Finally, [“Colbert” theme intro, fades out quickly under:] Gay entertainers Andy Cohen and Billy Porter took turns hawking new books on CBS’s Late Night with Stephen Colbert this week.Cohen’s Glitter Every Day is a collection of quotations by some of his favorite women. [COLBERT:] Do you quote yourself? [COHEN:] I don’t … I’m not a lady. [COLBERT:] Oh, I forgot it was all women, I apologize. [COHEN:] Yes, it’s all women I love. [COLBERT:] Okay. [COHEN:] I don't quote myself. My mom is in there a few times … great quote from my mom, when I … when I came out to her, her response was “I probably would have hated your wife anyway.” And you know what? She probably would’ve… [COLBERT:] That was really nice …

Porter promoted his book “Unprotected” with a sermon on self-affirmation: [PORTER:] You know, I was told that my queerness would be my liability. [COLBERT:] And that you should hide it. [PORTER:] Yes. And it was, for decades. And then “Kinky Boots” happened … [“I’m Not My Father’s Son” snippet fades out quickly under:] … and it wasn't. … And, you know, it's government sanctioned. It’s religious-sanctioned. You know, all you hear is, no, you're not okay. You're not enough. You're wrong. Something's wrong with you. You need to be fixed. It's a messaging that I received from the time I could comprehend thought, right? Love yourself enough to not need validation from the outside from anybody. Validate yourself, speak life into yourself, and go on out and change the world.

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