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This Way Out Radio Episode #1794: Remembering Gore Vidal & Don’t Ask Me!

Don’t you wish Gore Vidal were here? The famed — and infamous — gay author, playwright, candidate and essayist who scandalized the literary world and enraged the political world died on July 31, 2012. To honor the anniversary of his passing, and to acknowledge his indelible mark on U.S. history, we have excerpts from a 2008 interview with Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman.

Ready and willing to answer all questions, or “It’s not my job to educate you”? OutCasting Overtime queer youth commentator Declan sees both sides of the issue of being the go-to “expert” on LGBTQ+ issues for friends and family, but sometimes would like to just have dinner (produced by Marc Sophos).

And in NewsWrap: Sexual Minorities Uganda is shut down despite its pending appeal for NGO status, Florida denies gender-affirming care coverage under Medicaid, an eight-year-old trans girl’s family challenges Tennessee’s “bathroom bill,” hundreds march through Montreal to celebrate Pride after the official parade is abruptly cancelled, a Louisiana orphan’s pre-school blocks her advance to kindergarten when she’s adopted by her married lesbian aunt, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Marcos Najera and Melanie Keller (produced by Brian DeShazor).

All this on the August 15, 2022 edition of This Way Out!

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of August 15, 2022

Remembering Gore Vidal & Don’t Ask Me!

Program #1,794 distributed 08/15/22
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): The government shuts down Sexual Minorities Uganda, the East African nation’s leading queer rights group, for not being a registered non-governmental organization — even though the group’s NGO application was rejected years ago because of its name and LGBTQ advocacy work … the administration of Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis denies coverage for gender-affirming care to minors and adults by the federal-state Medicaid healthcare financial assistance program [with comments by Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, state Representative Anna Eskamani, and mom of a trans kid Jeanette Jennings] … an eight-year-old trans girl and her parents file suit in federal court challenging Tennessee’s law that denies trans kids and adults the right to use sex-segregated public facilities, like locker rooms and bathrooms, that match their gender identity … hundreds march with LGBTQ Pride through the streets of downtown Montreal after organizers in the Canadian city abruptly cancel the official event for possibly questionable reasons … and five-year-old Zoey, who was just officially adopted by her biological aunt Emily Parker and Emily’s wife Jennifer Parker after both her father and mother died, can’t “graduate” from pre-school to kindergarten at her Bible Baptist Academy in Southwest Louisiana because of her adoptive parents’ “lifestyle choices” [with comments by Emily and Jennifer] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MARCOS NAJERA and MELANIE KELLER, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).

Feature: Does just being queer make you an expert on all LGBTQ+ issues from A to Z? And does that make it your job to teach every ally the whole alphabet? OutCasting Overtime’s DECLAN has some thoughts about that (produced by MARC SOPHOS, and with TWO-added intro music by IMAGINARY FREDS).

Feature: Everything you’ve heard about Myra Breckinridge is true — including the fact that the author of the original novel thought the 1968 film version of the tale of a transgender Hollywood drama coach was “an awful joke.” Homosexuality was a key theme in the fiction of Gore Vidal, but although books like The City and the Pillar were scandalously groundbreaking, his attitude towards his own gay relationships did not evolve much with the times. As one of the most prolific writers of the 20th Century, the eloquent and acerbic Vidal was better known in later years for his insightful historical works and searing political essays — so one has to wonder what he would have thought about the events of today. Sadly, we lost Gore Vidal’s voice ten years ago. To honor the anniversary of his passing, we have excerpts from a 2008 interview with Democracy Now!’s AMY GOODMAN (with brief intro music by SAM COOKE and snippets from the Myra Breckinridge movie trailer).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending August 13, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Marcos Najera and Melanie Keller,
produced by Brian DeShazor

Sexual Minorities Uganda is out of business by order of the government. SMUG has been the leading queer advocacy group in one the world’s most anti-queer countries since 2004. It’s been trapped in a Ugandan “Catch-22” with the Registrar of Companies for a decade.

The Registrar rejected Sexual Minorities Uganda’s non-governmental organization application because of its “undesirable” name. The disqualification also said that SMUG seeks "to advocate for the rights and wellbeing of lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer persons, which persons are engaged in activities labeled criminal acts under ... the Penal Code.”

SMUG lost a challenge to that 2012 NGO registration rejection in a lower court. It’s still waiting for an appeals court ruling, but on August 6th, the nation’s NGO Bureau ordered SMUG to cease operations “with immediate effect.” Why? Because it’s not a registered NGO.

Longtime leader Dr. Frank Mugisha has been running the group as “an association” instead of an NGO to stay under the radar. As he told the Associated Press, “This means that the life-saving work we do is on hold. We can’t protect and support vulnerable LGBT people. … The background, of course, is homophobia and transphobia.”

Mugisha told the BBC, “The politicians are using the LGBT community as a scapegoat to gain support and win votes, and it is fuelling homophobia.”

The East African nation’s President Yoweri Museveni has led Uganda’s homophobic charge since coming to power in 1986. He has a history of calling queer people “born abnormal” and “disgusting.”

Consensual adult same-gender sex is an “unnatural offense” under Ugandan law, punishable by up to life in prison.

Defiant SMUG members vowed in a tweet, “We shall be back.”

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration has issued new regulations denying Medicaid coverage to transgender young people for gender-affirming care. Medicaid is a federal and state program that helps with healthcare costs for people with limited income.

Coverage will now be denied for “puberty blockers, hormones and hormone antagonists, and any other procedures that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics.” Trans adults seeking those treatments or gender reassignment surgery are also out of luck.

The new regulations follow last week’s recommendations from the state’s Board of Medicine to ban gender-affirming care for trans minors.

Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo is Florida’s state Surgeon General, hastily appointed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis to support his deadly anti-mask, anti-vaccine approach to the COVID pandemic. Outside the Medical Board meeting on gender-affirming care, Ladapo told Miami’s WPLG-TV:

[SOUND/LAPADO:] “I’m grateful that the governor has decided that it was important to take a stand here. Once they're adults, they can do what they want. But minors simply do not have the mental capacity to make these life altering decisions.”

Presidential wannabe DeSantis has been building his political fortunes on the backs of LGBTQ people. He pushed Florida’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law through the Republican-dominated legislature, then went after the Walt Disney Company for denouncing it. DeSantis gleefully supported state laws banning trans girls and women from competing in school athletic events, and forcing trans people to use sex-segregated public facilities based on their birth certificate gender.

Democratic State Representative Anna Eskamani condemned the impetus behind the new Medicaid restrictions:

[SOUND/ESKAMANI:] “To just vote to move forward with this clearly politically motivated transphobic rule is a slap in the face to every Floridian here.”

Jeanette Jennings is the mother of a trans kid. She talked about the dire consequences of the new rules:

[SOUND/JENNINGS:] “When you say to them, you can't wear this, you can't wear that, there's no doctors that will treat you, they become suicidal.”

Florida’s new regulations denying Medicaid support for gender-affirming health care are set to take effect on August 21st. A number of queer and progressive legal advocates are vowing to challenge them in court.

An eight-year-old transgender girl and her parents are going to fight a Tennessee “bathroom bill” in federal court. The law prevents trans public school students and staff from using sex-segregated campus restrooms and changing rooms according to their gender identity.

A private law firm and the Human Rights Campaign filed the lawsuit on August 4th on behalf of parents A.H. and E.H. and daughter D.H. It rejects the assertion by D.H.’s elementary school that it provided her with the legally required “reasonable” alternatives to using the girls’ facilities. Instead, the lawsuit describes D.H. having to “clean [those] restrooms covered in human waste before using them.” Because of the law, D.H. was “forced to out herself as transgender in front of other students [and] janitorial staff.” The filing also claims that D.H. has suffered serious bullying from some of her classmates.

A previous challenge to the 2021 law was dismissed when the plaintiffs moved out of state. A U.S. federal court has already struck down another Tennessee “bathroom law”: it required businesses to post “warning signs” if trans people were allowed to use the restroom based on their gender identity.

Queer people and their allies in Montréal spontaneously marched with LGBTQ Pride on August 7th after the official parade was abruptly cancelled.

Organizers claimed that they were forced to cancel the event at the last minute because they were unable to recruit enough security people, but hundreds of rainbow flag-waving people hit the streets anyway.

Montréal Pride Executive Director Simon Gamache told reporters that his group “isn’t immune from human resources issues.” Police officials, however, said in a statement, “Like every year, we were ready to oversee the event.”

Indeed, insistent Pride-goers gave the cooperative police officers an event to oversee: clearing a path for an impromptu march through downtown Montréal. Several marchers who spoke to the Montréal Gazette recalled that Pride began as a protest. Béatrice Piché said, “there’s a feeling of that still here today. … People are a bit frustrated about corporate Pride and what that means in the queer community. So for people to be out here marching today, despite (the parade) officially being cancelled, it means a lot.”

Mayor Valérie Plante was also shocked by the last-minute cancellation of the official march. She told a news conference, “I had on my pink suit … I was looking forward to walking with Montrealers in the most important LGBTQAI2+ parade in North America.”

Montréal Pride’s Gamache said that a replacement event of some sort might be organized.

Finally, a southwest Louisiana preschooler has been barred from entering kindergarten by her Christian elementary school. When five-year-old Zoey’s parents died, her biological aunt Emily Parker and Emily’s wife Jennifer formally adopted her.

Now officials at DeQuincy, Louisiana’s Bible Baptist Academy say that Zoey cannot return to the school. The couple explained to Lake Charles, Louisiana TV station KPLC:

[SOUND/EMILY:] “On the third we adopted her, and we went to open house, we got the uniforms, we got the fees. And the pastor started talking about gender identification and that they teach the words of the Lord and marriage is between a man and a woman. And …

[SOUND/JENNIFER:] “… because of our lifestyle choices …

[EMILY:] ”… they didn't think this was a good fit.”

[JENNIFER:] “She lost her father, she lost her mother, and now she's losing her school which she loves very much.”

After Zoey’s story became public a number of other Christian schools in the area reached out to the Parkers. Jennifer said, “The whole community of DeQuincy has showed us what it is to be a good Christian and to not preach hate like this. They are the reason why we kept faith.” Zoey will now be going to the Hamilton Christian School in Lake Charles. And since God works in mysterious ways, her mom says her new school is “a little closer, and it’s a new opportunity for [Zoey] to make new friends.”

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