Do two moms know best? OutCasting Overtime queer youth media activists Isha and Rose hang out “Off the Clock” to chat about growing up in a lesbian family, and what happens when homophobia hits (produced by Marc Sophos).
A journey into poet Steven Reigns’ book “A Quilt for David” (published by City Lights Books) pays homage to a gay dentist who was persecuted during the early days of AIDS with readings, reflections and news reports from the period (Part 1 of 3, produced by Brian DeShazor).
And in NewsWrap: repeal of Botswana’s queer sex ban upheld on appeal, Canada’s House of Commons votes to ban conversion therapy, Hungarian lawmakers okay “LGBT propaganda” referendum, Sweden’s first trans cabinet minister appointed, queer candidates win elections in Honduras, Chile and Bangladesh, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Wendy Natividad and Joe Boehnlein (produced by Brian DeShazor).
All this on the December 6, 2021 edition of This Way Out!
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Complete Program Summary for the week of December 6, 2021
Two-Mom Teens & “A Quilt for David” (Pt 1)!
Program #1,758 distributed 12/06/21
Hosted this week By Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Botswana’s Court of Appeal upholds the decriminalization of same-gender sex … the Mauritius Supreme Court considers repealing sodomy laws … the Delhi High Court delays its consideration of several combined cases seeking marriage equality in India after some of the plaintiffs ask for live-streaming of the proceedings … Canada’s House of Commons unanimously approves a ban on conversion therapy for minors two days after the government introduces it … Hungarian lawmakers approve a hateful public vote on so-called “LGBT propaganda” … Sweden has its first transgender cabinet minister … Hondurans vote in their first gay national legislator … Chileans elect their first transgender member of the Chamber of Deputies … voters in the Bangladeshi town of Trilochanpur welcome the country’s first transgender mayor (written by GREG GORODN, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR, and anchored this week by WENDY NATIVIDAD and JOE BOEHNLEIN).
Feature: In the first of a three-part series, This Way Out’s BRIAN DESHAZOR presents a radio presentation of the book, A Quilt For David by poet, artist and educator, Steven Reigns (published by City Lights). It includes readings and comments by the author, mixed with news reports from the early years of the AIDS epidemic, to illuminate the hidden history of a vulnerable gay dentist whose life and death was turned into tabloid fodder.
Praise for A Quilt for David:
"A stunning homage to people with AIDS." —Sarah Schulman
“An incredibly moving book." —Justin Torres
"This writing is energetic, alive, and uncensored.” —Natalie Goldberg
Feature: What’s it like when you’re a teenager and your family doesn’t look like other families around you? And how do you handle it when friends have reactions that are odd or even strange? OutCasting Overtime’s ROSE talks with ISHA in an “off the clock” episode about having two moms (produced by MARC SOPHOS, and with TWO-added music from Two Mothers by TRACEY-MAREE HOUIA)
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the two weeks ending December 4, 2021
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Wendy Natividad and Joe Boehnlein,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Botswana’s Court of Appeal has upheld the repeal of two sections of the penal code that criminalized homosexuality. The government’s argument against a 2019 High Court ruling that struck down the queer sex ban was the lack of evidence that attitudes toward LGBTQ people had evolved. But the five-judge appeals panel ruled on November 29th that the statutes banning “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” and “indecent practices between persons” indeed “violated the right to privacy … the right to liberty, security of person and equal protection under the law … and the [constitutional] right to freedom from discrimination.”
In announcing the unanimous decision, Court of Appeal President Ian Kirby said, "Those sections have outlived their usefulness, and serve only to incentivize law enforcement agents to become key-hole peepers and intruders into the private space of citizens."
Private consensual adult same-gender sex had been punishable under statutes established during British colonial rule in the southern African country by up to seven years in prison.
Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana chair Sethunya Mosime told Reuters, “This will forever change the landscape of democracy, human rights and equality in Botswana. Finally the state will have no business in what two consenting adults do in their privacy.”
The Supreme Court of Mauritius has heard a challenge to its anti-queer sex laws. Thirty-one-year-old human rights activist Abdool Ridwan Firaas Ah Seek is asking the Court to overturn the 1838 colonial-era penal code Section 250, according to the queer South African website mamba online. The law punishes those convicted of “the crime of sodomy” with up to five years in prison. Ah Seek told the justices, “I’m just a normal person, I pay my taxes. I don’t want to be considered a criminal.”
He’s supported by the country’s oldest and largest LGBTQ rights group, Collectif Arc-En-Ciel. Collectif president Muriel Yvon said in a statement, “It is our greatest hope that the Supreme Court will relegate this law to the history books, and our country can finally live up to its reputation as a rainbow nation, where every citizen is treated fairly, equally, and with dignity.”
Ah Seek is represented by attorney Gavin Glover, who says that getting the Supreme Court to actually hear the case was a victory in itself. In an interview after the hearing, Glover said, “Given the compelling evidence for striking down this law … I think we can be very hopeful for a positive result.”
mamba online reports that Ah Seek’s next hearing is scheduled for early next year.
In India, the Delhi High Court has once again delayed hearing a combination of marriage equality cases – this time because of a request by some of the plaintiffs. They’ve asked the Court to live stream the proceedings because the decision directly affects nearly eight percent of India’s population thought to be LGBTQ. They argue that it is consequently an issue of “great national importance.”
The Delhi High Court has given the government until February 3rd to respond to the live streaming request. The government itself opposes marriage equality.
The cases involve domestic same-gender couples seeking to marry, and queer couples asking for recognition of their legal marriages performed in other countries. Another plaintiff is a transgender woman who entered into a civil union with her husband in South Africa.
Generally speaking, the decision of any regional High Court in India applies nationally, unless another Court has issued a contrary ruling.
Canada’s House of Commons approved a bill to ban conversion therapy for minors on December 1st. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals sponsored the legislation, and Conservative Party Leader Erin O'Toole allowed his caucus to have a free vote on it. But when the vote turned out to be unanimous just two days after it was introduced, many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were surprised.
The Commons erupted in applause. Several Liberal cabinet ministers walked across the floor to shake hands with their Conservative counterparts – there were even some hugs.
An earlier version of the ban on the discredited practice that claims to make queer people straight passed in the House earlier this year. However the Senate did not considered it before Prime Minister Trudeau called snap elections in September.
No timetable for Senate consideration of the reaffirmed House bill has been announced.
Hungarian lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill this week to hold a public vote on the dissemination of so-called “LGBT propaganda” – a move likely to intensify Hungary’s collision course with most fellow members of the European Union, let alone the distress it will create for queer Hungarians. The referendum will pose such inflammatory questions as whether voters support sexual orientation workshops in schools without parental consent, and whether they believe gender reassignment procedures should be promoted among children.
There have already been heated exchanges, with the E.U. threatening to withhold critical funding and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán defiantly refusing to reign in his government’s anti-queer campaign.
Orbán has held increasingly autocratic power since 2010, but he’s facing his first competitive election in a decade next year. His “pro-family” credentials are key to Orbán’s political playbook. When he announced the introduction of the referendum proposal in parliament, Orbán insisted that, “Our children’s future is at stake and we cannot make concessions in this case.”
No specific date has been set, but voters are expected to go to the polls sometime in April.
Queer politicians have scored some major “firsts” in at least four countries.
Lina Axelsson-Kihlblom is a former head teacher and lawyer. The 51-year-old became known as Sweden’s “Super Principal” after she starred in a documentary about turning around a failing school in one of the country’s most deprived areas. She is now Sweden’s first transgender cabinet minister – the first trans minister in a Nordic country. A mother of two, Axelsson-Kihlblom came out as trans in a 2015 book called Will You Love Me Now? She’s been a member of Sweden’s School Commission since then. On November 30th, she was tapped to be the Education Minister by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on the second day of Sweden’s new female majority government.
Víctor Grajeda has become the first gay deputy in the Honduran legislature. He garnered more than 100,000 votes in national elections on November 28th. The Central American country also saw the ouster of the conservative National Party government. Local reports suggest that LGBTQ voters for the most part supported opposition Liberty Party standard-bearer Xiomara Castro. Her stated support for marriage equality is in stark contrast to the 12-year reign of the Nationals, during which anti-queer discrimination and hate violence have mushroomed.
New Honduran lawmaker Gajeda says that he is “looking to open spaces and eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.”
Emilia Schneider has become the first out transgender person to be elected to the national congress of Chilé. The 25-year-old former student activist received more than 26,000 votes, and will represent a district in Santiago when she’s sworn into the Chamber of Deputies in March. Schneider says she hopes to “expand rights in a stable and dialoguing manner.”
Schneider is concerned, however, about the presidential run-off election on December 19th. Other LGBTQ activists are worried, too. Left-wing candidate Gabriel Boric is battling far-right populist José Antonio Kast, who topped all candidates on November 21st. Kast was forced into the run-off because no candidate won the required 50 per cent of the vote. Fledgling lawmaker Schneider told Merco Press, “The security, dignity and integrity of the rights of the [LGBTQ] community and women are at stake.”
Finally, Nazrul Islam Ritu has become the first elected transgender mayor in Bangladesh. Ritu uses interchangeable she/he pronouns. She’s known for helping to build mosques and donating to nearby Hindu temples. He was elected Trilochanpur’s mayor on November 28th with nearly twice the votes of her opponent. One supporter in the town of about 40,000 said that he “can fulfill the promises she made to us because she has always been a philanthropist, helping people.” Mayor-elect Ritu told Al Jazeera, “I will dedicate my life to public service.
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