A gay Syracuse, N.Y. high school student’s “senior spotlight” moment turns a beam on homophobia when he reveals on TikTok that the principal tried to censor his sexuality (Tyler Johnson, his mother Pamela Custer, Tully Schools Supervisor Robert Hughes and school social worker Kyle Taranto).
An OutCasting Overtime queer youth commentary raises pertinent issues for LGBTQ and allied conservatives who support anti-queer politicians (OutCaster Tim, produced by Marc Sophos).
And in NewsWrap: Chile’s new Cabinet boasts two queer members, Honduras’ high court shuns marriage equality plaintiffs, Taiwanese gay dads finalize nation’s first co-adoption, Japanese gay man sues for marriage to his Taiwanese partner, U.S. trans youth remain in state Republican crosshairs, parodied Pence bunny hops across Rainbow Bridge, Brigham Young University probed by feds for anti-queer bias, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Michael LeBeau and Melanie Keller (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of January 22, 2022
TikTok Action & Query for Republicans!
Program #1,765 distributed 01/24/22
Hosted this week By Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Chile’s President-elect Gabriel Boric taps a gay man to be Education Minister and a lesbian to be Sports Minister in in his strikingly-diverse and women-majority Cabinet … the Honduras Constitutional Court thumbs its nose at an Inter-American Court of Human Rights order to open civil marriage to queer couples by rejecting two cases seeking it … the spouse of a Taiwanese gay man who adopted a child before they were married joins his husband in signing papers to make them the first queer marrieds in the country to have the spouse adopt his husband’s non-biological child … a Japanese-Taiwanese gay couple files suit in Taiwan’s capital of Taipei demanding that civil authorities accept their marriage registration … Republican-controlled governments in at least seven U.S. states jumpstart 2022 with at least nine new bills to restrict the rights of trans and non-binary young people … the former “Bunny of the United States” and star of two children’s books, Marlon Bundo, goes to rabbit heaven … and the U.S. Education Department has launched an investigation into unequal treatment of LGBTQ students at “the largest Mormon university in the world,” Salt Lake City, Utah-based Brigham Young University [with comments by junior CHRISTIAN HUNT and senior EVERETT PATTERSON via KSTU-TV] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MICHAEL LeBEAU and MELANIE KELLER, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: A seventeen-year-old Syracuse, New York high school senior used a TikTok video to expose the homophobia that is still alive and insidiously well in the U.S.: Tyler Johnson discussed how Tully Junior Senior High School Principal Mike O’Brien tried to censor his gayness in a “Senior Spotlight” for the school newspaper. This report includes excerpts from the TikTok video, Tyler’s comments to local TV reporters, brief comments by Tyler’s mom Pamela Custer, Schools Superintendent Robert Hughes; and local elementary school social worker Kyle Taranto, who had his own run-in with school authorities about referencing his husband in his “welcome bio” when he joined the district about a year ago [local Syracuse TV comments from reports by WSTM/WTVH and WSYR; and with intro/outro music from Homophobia by ROMANOVSKY & PHILLIPS).
Feature: The fawning foppery of the Log Cabin Republicans’ fanfare for their fete with the former First Lady last November may or may not tickle your political funny bone [a cameo from Donald Trump introduces snippets of the LCR’s over-the-top video post praising Melania]. But the OutCasting Overtime crew, represented by TIM, is thinking more seriously about queer conservatism in the United States (produced by MARC SOPHOS, with TWO-added outro music from Whose Side Are You On by ANI DiFRANCO).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending January 22, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Michael LeBeau and Melanie Keller,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Chiléan President-elect Gabriel Boric has named two openly queer people to his strikingly progressive Cabinet – another reminder that elections have consequences.
Lesbian Alexandra Benado will serve as Sports Minister in Chilé’s majority-women Cabinet. Gay Marco Antonio Ávila will be Education Minister.
Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual, MOVILH, is the country’s major LGBTQ advocacy group. Spokesperson Javiera Zúñiga celebrated the diversity in a statement that read in part, “Sexual orientation and gender identity are irrelevant for the positions … Capability is the only thing that matters.”
Fourteen of Boric’s new 24-member Cabinet ministers are women. Like Boric, several are former student protest leaders. The President-elect said in announcing his choices on January 21st, “We have formed this team with people who are prepared, with knowledge, with experience, and committed to the agenda of changes that the country needs.”
The young President-elect will turn 36 before he and his Cabinet begin work in the South American nation on March 11th. That’s the day after lesbian and gay couples can begin tying the knot under recently enacted marriage equality legislation.
Marriage equality was unanimously rejected by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of Honduras on January 17th. The ruling came in two related cases.
The plaintiffs say they will now take their cases to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the judicial arm of the Organization of American States.
Honduras is bound by that Court’s 2017 ruling for non-marriage equality countries in the region to open the civil institution to gay and lesbian couples.
Of the 20 member-nations of the Organization of American States, 12 still deny them that right.
However, those governments can flaunt the Inter-American Court’s decision because it carries no enforcement powers.
Meanwhile, Mexico has essentially piecemeal marriage equality. Its Supreme Court ordered a state-by-state process that still leaves six of its 31 states standing at the altar.
It’s official! Taiwanese gay husbands Wang Chen-wei and Chen Chun-ju are the island’s first queer family to adopt a child together. The formal adoption papers were signed on January 13th.
Under current laws, married queer couples can only adopt their respective biological children. Wang postponed his wedding to Chen in order to adopt the child as a single parent without complications.
Late last year, a family court in the city of Kaohsiung gave Chen the green light to adopt Wang’s adopted child. Signing the papers this week completed the process.
Activists’ enthusiasm for the action was tempered by the fact that it sets no precedent. Although Taiwan is the first jurisdiction in Asia to open civil marriage to same-gender couples, it declined to include equality in adoptions. A bill to remedy that omission has languished in the Legislative Yuan for more than a year.
After their historic adoption became official, Wang told reporters that he and Chen “are not a charity case. We shouldn’t have had to fight for it.”
Another thing Taiwan’s marriage equality legislation did not include was recognition of bi-national couples. Japan’s international news service NHK reports that 42-year-old Ariyoshi Eizaburo and his 34-year-old Taiwanese partner Liu Yin-jen have filed a lawsuit in the city of Taipei. The couple is demanding that civil authorities accept their marriage registration. Their lawyer says it’s the first time a Japanese citizen has been involved in such a legal action abroad.
At least seven U.S. states rang in the New Year banging a new batch of bills to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary young people.
NBC News counted at least nine measures in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and South Dakota. They aim to prevent trans and enby youth from participating in school sports, from using campus bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, and from receiving gender-affirming healthcare.
More than 280 anti-queer bills were introduced in 33 state legislatures in 2021, according to the national LGBTQ Human Rights Campaign. At least 130 of them specifically targeted transgender people. Bills to ban trans student athletes from competing under their gender identity passed in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
The sponsors of these measures are almost exclusively Republican. They claim they want to protect a level playing field for cis-gender girls and women in school sports, and to prevent young trans people from making medical decisions they might later regret. They also cite potential disruption in gender-segregated public facilities.
Speaking to NBC News, longtime trans advocate and media manager for the National Women’s Law Center Gillian Branstetter called it “a hostile and dangerous trend that I’m sure we’ll see continue through the year.”
The vice-presidential pet made famous by two children’s books has died.
Marlon Bundo was owned by the daughter of former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Charlotte Pence Bond. She made Marlon famous as “BOTUS” -- Bunny of the United States – in her children’s picture book about the black and white rabbit, illustrated by Karen “Mother” Pence.
Hot on Marlon’s heels hopped a parody published by late night comedy host John Oliver that outsold the original. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo lampooned Pence’s well-known opposition to marriage equality: Marlon falls for another boy rabbit, only to be blocked from marrying him by the stinkbug -- an official with a less-than-subtle resemblance to Vice President Pence.
The parody publication was dedicated to “every bunny who has ever felt different,” and all proceeds were donated to the teen queer youth suicide prevention group The Trevor Project, and to AIDS United.
Now a reporter for The Daily Wire, Charlotte Pence Bond said at the time that she bought Oliver’s book to support those charities, as well as the charities her book supported. She tweeted the news of the rabbit’s passing on January 15th, writing, “Marlon, God brought you to us right when we needed you most.” Many queer kids can say the same.
Finally, the U.S. Department of Education is investigating the “largest Mormon University in the world” for bias against LGBTQ people. Complaints that Salt Lake City, Utah-based Brigham Young University is violating the civil rights of queer students sparked the probe into whether enforcement of its Honor Code of Conduct unfairly targets them. Conduct totally acceptable among hetero students can even lead to an LGBTQ person being expelled. The federal investigation began late last year, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
The revelation comes on the heels of reports that B.Y.U. had banned all protest actions around the iconic “Y” on the mountain overlooking the school. Last March activists lit it in rainbow colors, and B.Y.U. could not have that happening again!
[SOUND:] “It’s just kind of like one step forward, two steps back.”
B.Y.U. junior Christian Hunt told local TV station KSTU that he’s cautiously optimistic that pressure from the feds will lead to significant changes.
[SOUND:] “I’ve grown up in Utah and I understand kind of the invincibility that the Mormon Church can have. So I kind of was like, ‘Wow, this is so cool.’ But somehow, BYU escapes it every time.”
Senior Everett Patterson told the TV station:
[SOUND:] “… queer students are held to a different standard than straight students. Because a straight student wouldn’t be expelled for going on a date. Or holding hands. Or kissing.”