Adelaide United footballer Josh Cavallo’s demand for redress after receiving anti-LGBTQ verbal abuse from Melbourne fans gets the full-throated support of team CEO Nathan Kosmina.
Long-time Black activist Andrea Jenkins of Minneapolis, Minnesota is unanimously elected the first trans City Council President in the United States (featuring a 2014 interview with KFAI-Twin Cities “Fresh Fruit’s” Dixie Treichel, and Jenkins’s 2020 comments on the murder of George Floyd).
“Pose” star MJ Rodriguez celebrates her Best Actress in a TV Drama Golden Globe — a first for a trans woman.
And in NewsWrap: Greece and France accept blood from queer male donors, Poland proposes censoring "immoral" education, Orban ties Hungary's anti-queer vote to re-election bid, Germany appoints commissioner for sexual and gender diversity, South Korean court denies queer spousal health benefits, Sydney’s gay Gentoo pair models perfect penguin parenting, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Elena Botkin-Levy and Wenzel Jones (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of January 17, 2022
Cavallo on Defense & Jenkins in Charge!
Program #1,764 distributed 01/17/22
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Health authorities in Greece and France each lift the last restrictions on blood donations by sexually-active queer men, Canada and the U.K. are considering similar moves, and pressure mounts in other parts of Europe, in Australia, and in the U.S. to follow suit; the latest move by the right wing anti-queer Polish government of Andrzej Duda would virtually ban any discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in schools, even as an appeals court affirms the acquittal of three women charged with “offending religious beliefs” for distributing posters in the city of Plock depicting the Virgin Mary with a rainbow-hued halo; the next presidential election and an inflammatory anti-queer referendum will be held on the same day, April 3rd, in nearby Hungary, with its “Christian values” theocratic P.M. Viktor Orban facing a serious challenger for the first time; the Seoul Administrative Court rejects a lawsuit against the National Health Insurance Service by a South Korean gay male couple seeking equal spousal healthcare benefits; and the Sydney, Australia SEA LIFE Aquarium posts a promotional video celebrating the third anniversary of its inseparable chick-raising world-famous Gentoo penguin gay male couple Magic and Sphen [penguin keeper Keira Ponting announces that the royal couple is again receiving visitors] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by ELENA BOTKIN-LEVY and WENZEL JONES, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo collided with another player during their January 8th match against the Melbourne Victory, and was withdrawn with a suspected concussion. But it wasn’t bells he was hearing as he was walked off the field past a group of Victory fans. It was a cacophony of homophobic slurs. In October Cavallo became the first active professional footballer to exit the closet, and he was applauded around the world for his courage. He called out the obnoxious behavior in Melbourne on Instagram, saying that he had “no words” to describe his disappointment. However Adelaide United CEO Nathan Kosmina had plenty to say about it the following day at a press conference held back on their home field, Coopers Stadium (with intro music from the Adelaide United Goal Song 20/21 + TWO ID by the L.A. GALAXY’s ROBBIE ROGERS.
Feature: Pose star MJ Rodriguez made history as the first trans woman to be crowned Best Actress in a TV Drama Series at the 79th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 9th. Rodriguez offered her enthusiastic appreciation via Instagram Live (with intro/outro music from Pose by MAC QUAYLE).
Feature: In the troubled city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the City Council has unanimously elected Andrea Jenkins to serve as its president. She’s the first out transgender person in the U.S. to hold a position like it. George Floyd was murdered by police in Jenkins’ home district in 2020, and she gained national prominence at a Memorial gathering soon thereafter. This Way Out listeners first met the trailblazer in 2014 in an interview with DIXIE TREICHEL of KFAI’s Fresh Fruit (with intro/outro music from Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves by ARETHA FRANKLIN).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending January 15, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Elena Botkin-Levy and Wenzel Jones,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Sexually active queer men in Greece and France will now be able to donate blood. Health authorities in both countries lifted their remaining restrictions this week.
From the late 1970’s into the 80’s, AIDS was the raging pandemic. Greece joined most countries in banning all blood donations by gay and bisexual men. The policy remained unchanged until the government asked health officials to reconsider it just last year. On January 10th, Health Minister Thanos Plevris and Deputy Mina Gaga signed a ministerial decree removing “homosexual acts” as a reason to reject queer men who want to donate blood. The new policy will take effect as soon as it’s officially published in the Government Gazette.
In France men who have sex with men previously had to be sexually abstinent for the four months prior to their blood donation. Health Minister Olivier Véran announced on January 13th that prospective blood donors would no longer be asked about their sexual activities. France’s policy change becomes effective on March 16th.
For decades activists have argued that modern science has sufficiently advanced to allow sexually active queer men to donate blood safely. Greece and France join a growing list of countries that include Italy, Hungary, Brazil, and Spain in lifting all restrictions on blood donations by men who have sex with men.
Officials in Canada and the U.K. are moving in the same direction. Plummeting blood donations in the midst of the global COVID pandemic have intensified the calls from activists and health officials for a similar move in more European countries, in Australia, and in the United States, where a few months of abstinence is still required.
Lawmakers in Poland launched another attack on LGBTQ people this week. The lower house of parliament narrowly approved a bill to tighten government control over education involving sexual orientation, gender identity, and reproductive rights. It now moves to the Senate.
Rights activists warn that it’s yet another effort to restrict queer rights by autocratic far right Polish President Andrzej Duda. The proposed measure requires extracurricular activities run by non-governmental organizations on campus to be approved by a government-appointed “supervisor.” It would also make it easier to fire uncooperative school principals. Education Minister Przemyslaw Czarnek specifically said that the supervisors would have the right to block any instruction that would be "a threat to the morality of children." Czarnek is one of the government’s more notorious anti-queer loudmouths. In his words LGBTQ people “aren’t equal to normal people,” and he’s compared them to Nazis.
In more encouraging news from Poland, three women have been acquitted again of “offending religious beliefs.” The trio distributed posters of the Virgin Mary with a rainbow-hued halo in the city of Płock in 2019. They faced up to two years in prison, but an appeals court rejected the original prosecutors’ challenge to their acquittal this week.
In neighboring and equally hostile Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is betting his career on homophobia: he’s scheduled national elections and an anti-queer referendum for the same day, April 3rd.
Most analysts see Orbán’s bid for a fourth term to be his most challenging yet. Opponent Péter Márki-Zay is backed by six opposition parties across the political spectrum, united to end Orbán’s autocratic rule based on “Western Christian family values.”
The bias in the multi-pronged and inflammatory referendum is clear. It asks voters if they support “sexual orientation workshops” in schools without parental consent, if content that could supposedly “affect” a child’s sexual orientation should be taught without restriction, and if gender-affirming surgeries should be performed on children.
Germany has its first Commissioner for the Acceptance of Sexual and Gender Diversity. Gay Green Party M.P. Sven Lehmann accepted the newly created post from the new government. A coalition of center-left Social Democrats, progressive Greens, and neoliberal Free Democrats took over in December after 16 years of Angela Merkel’s socially moderate but politically conservative rule.
According to Deutsche-Welle, Lehmann “will be responsible for working with government ministries on policy projects affecting the LGBTQ+ community. He will also spearhead the government's National Action Plan for Sexual and Gender Diversity.”
Germany’s major queer advocacy groups praise the move. A statement from the Lesbian and Gay Association called it “another important signal for the queer political awakening promised by the coalition government.”
The German Society for Trans Identity and Intersexuality also says it looks forward to working with Lehmann toward what it hopes will be a “better world for all trans, inter and non-binary people.”
Germany has seen increasingly enlightened government policies advancing the rights of LGBTQ people in recent years. However Lehmann told Reuters, "When I think about the fact that many young people are afraid to come out at school or in their sports clubs, then we haven't come far enough yet."
The government of South Korea has considerably much farther to go.
The Seoul Administrative Court rejected a landmark lawsuit demanding equal spousal health benefits for queer couples from the National Health Insurance Service.
The agency only got wind of plaintiff So Seong-wook’s benefits from the workplace coverage of his partner Kim Yong-min after the rare case was revealed in the media. So’s benefits were withdrawn. The Administrative Court decided on January 7th that lawmakers need to change the current definition of civil marriage to include queer couples. Then So could receive spousal healthcare benefits through Kim’s employer.
An increasingly powerful Christian conservative movement in South Korea has become a major obstacle to the efforts of equality activists. In a recent report, Human Rights Watch accuses the government of “citing intense religious and conservative opposition to justify inaction.”
Kim told reporters that the couple plans to appeal the decision. He vowed, “Even though the court has left it as a matter of the legislative branch, we will continue to fight until the day our relationship is recognized. … I believe that love will eventually win.”
Finally, in the “Land Down Under,” Sydney’s SEA LIFE Aquarium is swimming in congratulations as their famed gay penguin couple enters its fourth breeding season. Sphen and Magic first gained notoriety in 2018 when they hatched a chick from an unattended egg a zookeeper gave them. Their renown grew when they were featured on the Netflix show Atypical. The devoted gay Gentoo penguin couple successfully incubated and hatched their second chick in 2020.
Sphen and Magic’s actual third anniversary was celebrated in November, according to the Sydney Star Observer. Zookeepers handed out frozen fish cakes throughout the penguin colony for the occasion.
In a promotional video released this week, penguin keeper Kiera Ponting announces that the royal couple is once again receiving visitors:
[sound:] “Hi everyone, my name is Kiera and I'm a penguin keeper at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and I'm here today to give you an update on our penguin power couple Magic and Spehn. They're still growing strong, this year celebrating their third anniversary. They've moved house and are in a brand new nest location and are still one of our strongest couples in the exhibit. They're a great example for the rest of the colony inseparable and proving just how strong penguin bonds can be. You can come and visit Magic and Sphen and the rest of our subantarctic penguin colony here at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.”
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