In the high school laboratory of trans science teacher Sam Long, the biology curriculum is undergoing a transition. His conversation with Black Filipinx plus size nonbinary queer artist of color Roger Q. Mason continues This Way Out’s special series, “Queerly Yours, Profiles in Courage” (produced by Brian DeShazor and Roger Q. Mason, original music and sound engineering by David Gonzales).
And in NewsWrap: lesbian basketball star Brittney Griner sentenced to nine years in Russian Russian penal colony on questionable drug charges wearebg.org, Hungary’s Christian nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban wows Conservative Political Action Conference, vandalized Chicago-area bakery zoned out of hosting drag brunches and all other events, Michigan’s Supreme Court upholds protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Sarah Montague and Michael LeBeau (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of August 8, 2022
Queerly Yours, Sam Long
Program #1,793 distributed 08/08/22
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Proudly out and married eight-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner is convicted in a Russian court of drug possession with intent to distribute less than a gram of cannabis oil in vape cartridges she accidentally left in her luggage and sentenced to nine+ years in a penal colony [hear more than two minutes of Griner addressing the court] … Hungary’s proud “Christian nationalist” Prime Minister Viktor Orban wows the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas as the farthest right wing of the Republican Party further embraces fascism [hear some of Orban’s “greatest racist and anti-queer hits”] … the owner of the Chicago-area UpRising Bakery and Cafe discusses insult added to injury when her building is vandalized ahead of a planned drag queen brunch, and then the town council abruptly tells her she can no longer host any type of event, as she’s been doing since November, because her business is not zoned for it [with audio from a Facebook video posted on July 30th by owner Corrina Sac] … and the Michigan Supreme Court rules 5-to-2 that state civil rights laws protecting people from discrimination based on sex extend to sexual orientation and gender identity [with celebratory comments by lesbian family woman and state Attorney General Dana Nessel] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported by SARAH MONTAGUE and MICHAEL LEBEAU, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR)
Feature: Our series of conversations with transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming thought leaders from around the world, Queerly Yours, Profiles in Courage, goes to an inclusion laboratory with host Roger Q. Mason. Roger’s guest in this installment is helping change the way students experience the sciences. Sam Long is a transgender high school science teacher and co-founder of The Gender Inclusive Biology website. The website aims to "adapt existing biology teaching to grow a gender-inclusive curriculum.” It demonstrates ways to achieve that goal for The Next-Generation Science Standards and gender-inclusive standards. It also offers resources for advocacy (produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR and ROGER Q. MASON, with music and sound engineering by DAVID GONZALEZ).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending August 6, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Sarah Montague and Michael LeBeau,
produced by Brian DeShazor
[SOUND/GRINER:] “I never meant to hurt anybody. I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population. I never meant to break any laws here.”
Eight-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner’s appeal for leniency failed to move a Russian judge. The African American lesbian was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in a penal colony at the end of her trial on August 4th. Griner was arrested at a Moscow-area airport on February 17th after officials found vape cartridges containing less than a gram of legally prescribed cannabis oil in her luggage. It was just days before President Vladimir Putin launched his unprovoked war on Ukraine, and many analysts speculate that Griner became an opportune “trading card” in the geo-political maelstrom. The Biden administration insists that the drug smuggling charges are manufactured. Griner supplements her WNBA salary by playing in Russia during the off-season.
She told the court:
[SOUND/GRINER:] Your honor, my parents taught me two important things. One, take ownership for your responsibilities, and two, to work hard for everything that you have. That's why I pled guilty to my charges. I understand everything that is being said against me, the charges that are against me, and that is why I pled guilty, but I had no intent to break any Russian law. I want the court to understand that it was an honest mistake that I made while rushing under stress, trying to recover from post-COVID and just trying to get back to my team.
The hard work that my parents instilled in me is what brought me to play for the best Euro League and Russian team here UGMK. I had no idea that the team, the city, the fans and my teammates would make such a great impression over the six and a half years that I’ve spent here in Ekat. It became my second home, with my friends, my teammates, my fans that I was able to interact with. I remember vividly coming out of the gym, and all the little girls were in the stands there, waiting on me. And that’s what kept making me come back here.
I want to apologize to my parents and my siblings, my Phoenix Mercury organization back at home, the amazing women of the WNBA and my amazing spouse.
I never meant to hurt anybody. I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population. I made an honest mistake, and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn't end my life here.
I know everybody keeps talking about ‘political pawn’ and ‘politics,’ but I hope that that is far from this courtroom. I had no intent, I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime.
Again I want to apologize to my teammates and the organization UGMK for any damage that I may have done to them. I never intended on hurting them. This is my second home, and all I wanted to do was just win championships and make them proud. Thank you, Your Honor.
John Kirby of the U.S. National Security Council condemned the nearly maximum sentence for a relatively minor case of possession, inflated to include “intent to distribute”:
[SOUND/KIRBY:] She shouldn't have even been on trial. She's wrongfully detained. Absent that, we find the sentence reprehensible in its … in its scope.
Russian officials had flatly refused to consider any “prisoner exchange” proposal until Griner’s trial was over. After the sentencing, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted by the state news agency RIA Novosti saying that the Kremlin is "ready to discuss this topic, but within the framework of the [back] channel that has been agreed by [Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden].” He did not elaborate.
Griner’s long-term mental and physical health in a Russian penal colony is of concern to many observers. Her supporters fear negotiations for a prisoner swap could take months. She has until August 14th to file an appeal.
The first date in the “bromance” between U.S. Conservative Political Action Conference and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was in Budapest earlier this year. The affair resumed on August 4th:
[SOUND/ORBAN:] The globalists can all go to hell, I have come to Texas.
Orbán landed in Dallas days after making this blatantly bigoted speech in Romania:
[SOUND/ORBAN (v/o translation):] There is a world in which European peoples are mixed together with those arriving from outside Europe. Now that is a mixed race world. And then there's our world where people from within Europe mix with one another.
Those remarks were called “pure Nazi” by a longtime aide, who promptly resigned.
However self-described Christian nationalist Orbán wowed the almost entirely Caucasian CPAC crowd. They also cheered his usual anti-queer rants:
[SOUND/ORBAN:] We have to build not just a physical wall on all borders, but the legal wall around our children to protect them from the gender ideology. Families shall be based on the marriage or the relationship between parents and children. The mother is a woman, the father is a man, and leave our kids alone, full stop. We don't need more genders. We need more Rangers. Less drag queens and more Chuck Norris.
The far-right of the Republican Party seems to be unashamedly under the spell of the fascist strongman. Swooning fans sharing the CPAC stage with the Hungarian autocrat were the likes of former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, insurrection backers Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio and Georgia Congressperson Marjorie Taylor-Greene. The twice-impeached former president also appeared.
The owner of a Chicago-area bakery who reluctantly cancelled a family-friendly drag queen brunch last week is now being blocked from hosting events of any kind.
Corrina Sac of the UpRising Bakery and Café in suburban Lake in the Hills, Illinois posted a video on Facebook on July 30th cancelling a Disney karaoke event planned for that evening and a résumé-writing workshop scheduled for the next day. She said that town officials had sent her a letter advising her that her establishment is not zoned for hosting events. Drag brunches and other family-friendly events have been a vital part of her business since she opened the bakery in November. Vandals broke windows and spray-painted vulgar anti-queer slogans on the walls of the building in late July.
Sac questioned the timing of the shut down:
[SOUND/SAC:] After voicing their support for us, and saying that they will help us reschedule the canceled event from 7-23, now they want us to cancel not only our next drag show, they want us to cancel every single event, stop hosting events going forward. To me, it seems a little coincidental.
Sac is considering her legal options.
Finally, Michigan’s civil rights laws that ban discrimination based on sex extend to sexual orientation and gender identity. So says the state Supreme Court in a 5—to-2 ruling. A handful of companies that wanted to deny service to trans people and queer couples had challenged that interpretation of the law by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
The two “no” votes were Republicans, but Republican Justice Elizabeth Clement joined her Democratic colleagues in affirming bias protections. She wrote, “Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily constitutes discrimination because of sex.”
A significant portion of the U.S. population wrongly believe that federal law protects LGBTQ people from discrimination. There are no protections in a number of states, either.
Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel helped argue the case before the state Supreme Court. She applauded the ruling:
[SOUND/NESSEL:] It’s good for the people of our state, it’s good for businesses in our state, and it's great for the economy of our state.
Nessel told Detroit’s WXYZ-TV that it’s personal for her as a partnered lesbian:
[SOUND/NESSEL:] It means that people can feel confident in being who they are and not have to worry about having their job threatened or their housing situation threatened. Up until yesterday, I could still walk into you know, a diner and be told that they won't serve me or my family. We’re law-abiding members of the community like anybody else. We just want to have all the same opportunities. Now we do.
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