The conclusion of our audio interpretation of “A Quilt for David,” a book of poetry by Steven Reigns (published by City Light Books) that centers on dentist David Acer, a victim of dueling epidemics — AIDS and media hysteria (part 3 of 3, produced by Brian DeShazor).
OutCasting Overtime’s queer youth commentators consider the challenges — and potential opportunities — of spending time with family during the holidays.
And in NewsWrap: French parliament passes conversion therapy ban, E.U. Justice Court orders ID papers for queer couples’ kids, Senegalese lawmakers draft odious anti-LGBTQ bill, Barbados starts new republic with rights guarantees, pro-equality candidate wins Chilean presidency, and more international LGBTQ news!
All this on the December 20, 2021 edition of This Way Out! Note: TWO will continue with special features the next two weeks, while NewsWrap takes a short hiatus to give TWO readers a holiday and will return on January 10, 2022.
Join our family of listener-donors today at thiswayout.org/donate/
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of December 20, 2021
"A Quilt for David" (Pt. 3) & Home at Queermas!
Program #1,760 distributed 12/20/21
Hosted this week By Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): French lawmakers enact one of the world’s strongest national laws banning so-called “conversion therapy” … the Court of Justice of the European Union orders all member states to legally recognize the children of queer parents … Zacatecas lawmakers make it the latest Mexican state with marriage equality … analysis of a U.S. Census Bureau survey concludes that there are 20 million people in the country who identify as LGBTQ, almost double the most recent estimate … a small group of Senegalese lawmakers draft legislation to double the prison time for private consensual adult same-gender sex, and to even criminalize financial support for and/or the advocacy of queer rights … equality activists lobby the government of the newly-minted nation of Barbados to dump British colonial-era anti-queer sex laws, and get a promising initial response … THIS JUST IN: a leftist pro-equality candidate wins Chile’s presidential run-off election (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MR RAQUEL and MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: In the conclusion of his three-part series, This Way Out’s BRIAN DeSHAZOR presents a radio adaptation of the book, A Quilt For David by poet, artist and educator Steven Reigns, published by City Lights Books. It includes readings and comments by the author mixed with news reports from the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and centers on dentist David Acer, a victim of dueling epidemics — AIDS and media hysteria.
Feature: What are your holiday plans? The queer youth commentators from the OutCasting Overtime crew have been putting a lot of thought into their yuletide preparations — and it’s way more complicated than who’s naughty and who’s nice (featuring “Outcaster” SARAH, produced by MARC SOPHOS, with TWO-added intro/outro music by SAM SMITH).
Feature: Teases and Promo for next week’s special “Coming Out”-themed features and our Happy Whatever You’re Having Holiday Greeting (with the musical snippet by THE THERAPY SISTERS).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending December 18th, 2021
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by MR Raquel and Michael Taylor-Gray,
produced by Brian DeShazor
French lawmakers have enacted one of the world’s strongest bans on “conversion therapy.” The bill outlaws “practices, behaviors, and repeated statements with the intent of modifying or repressing a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, and having the effect of a material alteration to their mental or physical health.” Claims that queer people can be guided onto the straight and narrow through counseling and/or prayer have been definitively debunked.
Convicted practitioners will face up to two years in prison and a fine equivalent to almost 35 thousand U.S. dollars. If a minor or vulnerable adult is victimized, the penalties increase to three years in prison and an almost 40 thousand dollar fine. Healthcare professionals who practice conversion therapy could also loose their medical licenses for 10 years. There are no religious exemptions.
Senators in parliament’s upper house voted 305-to-28 to approve the measure on December 14th. It passed unanimously in the National Assembly in October.
President Emmanuel Macron is expected to sign it into law.
That will add France to the slowly growing list of countries with national bans on “conversion therapy.” Malta was the first. Canadian lawmakers banned the practice last week with legislation to take effect in January. It’s also illegal in Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, and Taiwan.
Similar bills are being considered in a few other countries.
The Court of Justice of the European Union has ordered all member states to legally recognize the children of same-gender couples. The December 14th ruling came in the case of a baby girl who was born in Spain to a Bulgarian-born woman and her Gibraltar-born wife.
Bulgarian authorities refused to recognize the baby’s citizenship because the Eastern European country does not allow lesbian and gay couples to legally wed, and does not acknowledge the legal marriages of same-gender couples performed elsewhere.
The decision says that Bulgaria must recognize the baby’s Spanish birth certificate, which lists both mothers as her parents.
A foundational E.U. law requires all member states to allow citizens the freedom to travel within the Union to any other member state. The judges ruled that Bulgaria’s failure to issue the baby a government ID card or passport would impede “the child’s exercise of the right of free movement and thus full enjoyment of her rights as a Union citizen.”
Speaking through the queer advocacy group ILGA-Europe, the couple said, “This is a long-awaited step ahead for us but also a huge step for all LGBT families in Bulgaria and Europe.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen insists that, “If you are a parent in one country, you are a parent in every country.”
Lawmakers in the Mexican state of Zacatecas approved a marriage equality bill this week by a vote of 18-to-10, with one abstention.
The measure had failed to advance in several previous legislative sessions. Members of so-called “pro-life” groups tried to block lawmakers from entering the Zacatecas Legislative Palace to prevent the final reading of the bill, according to local reports. Pro-equality counter-demonstrators were on hand to celebrate its final passage.
Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that state bans on civil marriage for same-gender couples were unconstitutional. However, each individual state was left to determine how to open the civil institution to gay and lesbian couples.
In 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered all member states, including Mexico, to let lesbian and gay couples legally wed. The ruling had no enforcement provisions.
By most accounts, queer couples will now be able to legally marry in 25 of Mexico’s 31 states. The federal district of Mexico City led the way in 2007.
“Just how many queers are there?” you ask? It’s been a hard question to answer, since closeted people who don’t want to be counted are difficult to track. But a report released in the U.S. this week suggests that those closet doors are flying open in record numbers. The Human Rights Campaign is the largest queer equality group in the country. Their analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey finds at least 20 million adults living in the United States identify as LGBTQ -- close to eight percent of the population. That’s twice the most recent estimate of 4.4 percent reported by the Public Religious Research Institute’s American Values Atlas in 2018. The percentage would no doubt be higher still if there were just some way to count the closets. The “B’s” were the majority among the LGBTQs, with four percent identifying as bisexual.
Even though there are no questions about sexual orientation or gender identity in its major studies, Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison still praised the effort. She said, “I commend the Biden administration and the U.S. Census Bureau for finally allowing researchers to count us, and [we] look forward to seeing the LGBTQ+ community counted in further studies.”
Data from the Census Bureau is used to help determine how billions of dollars of federal money are spent.
A small group of lawmakers in Senegal announced this week that they’re drafting legislation to essentially make being an LGBTQ person a crime. The proposed legislation would add up to five years to what is already a potentially five-year prison term for “acts against nature” with a person of the same gender. Convictions for attempted “acts against nature” would draw the same penalties. It would also jail for up to 5 years anyone who finances and/or advocates for queer equality.
The proposed legislation defines “acts against nature” as “lesbianism, homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, intersexuality, bestiality, necrophilia and other related practices.” Its supporters’ erroneous description of “intersexuality” is almost laughable: they call it, “being adept at all imaginable sexual orgies.”
Lawmaker Alioune Souaré is part of a four-person group of National Assembly Deputies who call themselves the “Say No To Homosexuality Alliance.” He told reporters that their draft would soon be submitted, but it’s not clear how much support the proposal has in parliament.
Homosexuality is a taboo subject in a number of African nations, and mostly-Muslim Senegal is one of them. Discrimination and harassment are routine, as is anti-queer violence against anyone even perceived to be LGBTQ.
However, the Freedom Collective of Senegal responded to the announced proposal with a statement asserting, “Homosexuality has always existed in Senegal, as it has everywhere else, and LGBTI people are a full-fledged component of Senegalese society that has the right to respect, just like everyone else.”
Senegal’s proposed bill mirrors similar draconian legislation being considered by the parliament in the neighboring, mostly-Christian West African nation of Ghana.
Finally, Barbados is now the planet’s newest republic. The Caribbean island nation gained its independence from Britain in 1966, but has continued as a Constitutional Monarchy. British ties were formally broken on November 30th in a ceremony headed by newly elected President Sandra Mason.
Barbados has criminalized homosexual acts since colonial rule. LGBTQ rights supporters have lobbied for the removal of those anti-queer sex laws during the transition from Constitutional Monarchy to full independence. Prior to the official independence ceremony, Prime Minister Mia Mottley introduced a new Charter of Barbados in parliament that appears to do even more. Article One reads: “All Barbadians are born free and are equal in human dignity and rights regardless of age, race, ethnicity, faith, class, cultural and educational background, ability, sex, gender or sexual orientation.”
The charter is not a binding legal document, but activists think such language will help advance LGBTQ equality in the newly minted nation. Co-founder of Barbados Gays and Lesbians and All-sexuals Against Discrimination Donnya Piggott told The Independent, “Becoming a republic is a great opportunity for Barbados to wipe the slate, and determine who we are.”
NewsWrap returns on the This Way Out week of 10 January 2022!
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