Transgender activist Rikki Nathanson won her discrimination
case against the government of Zimbabwe in 2019, but ongoing harassment forced her to leave home. Now she’s Senior advisor of the Global Trans program for OutRight Action International, and our special guest on the final chapter of “Queerly Yours, Profiles in Courage with Roger Q. Mason” (produced by Brian DeShazor and Roger Q. Mason, with music and audio engineering by David Gonzalez).
And in NewsWrap: Taiwanese WorldPride 2025 organizers cancel after failing to reach a naming agreement with InterPride, a U.S. federal appeals court rules that the Americans with Disabilities Act covers gender dysphoria, Boston Children’s Hospital faces death threats spurred by accusations that it performs gender-affirming surgeries on under-age patients, lone out NFL player Carl Nassib signs a one-year deal with Florida’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, lesbian WNBA star Brittney Griner appeals her drug possession sentence as Russian prisoner exchange negotiations continue, thousands demonstrate to support Serbian Orthodox Church Bishop Nikanor Bogunoviċ saying that he’d use a weapon against EuroPride in Belgrade, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Elena Botkin-Levy and David Hunt (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of August 22, 2022
Queerly Yours, Rikki Nathanson
Program #1,795 distributed 08/22/22
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): InterPride needs another host for WorldPride 2025 after Taiwan cancels the event there over a naming dispute; for better or worse … a U.S. federal appeals court rules for the first time that trans people’s gender dysphoria is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act … anti-queer bigots target Boston Children’s Hospital with harassment on social media that includes death threats over false claims, among others, that the hospital’s programs for pediatric and adolescent transgender healthcare offer genital surgeries for patients under the age of 18 … the National Football League’s first and only active openly gay player, defensive end Carl Nassib, signs a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following his release by the Las Vegas Raiders after two seasons there … Russian lawyers for jailed lesbian WNBA star Brittney Griner file an appeal of her 9-year prison sentence for possession of cannabis vape cartridges accidentally left in her luggage, but the real drama is the “quiet diplomacy” of Russian and U.S. officials as they work behind the scenes on a possible prisoner exchange deal … and Serbian Orthodox Bishop Nikanor Bogunović sparks “Hands off our children” protests by thousands opposing the upcoming EuroPride celebration in the nation’s capital by saying that if he had a weapon he “would use it” against organizers and participants who “will come to Belgrade and flaunt and desecrate … the holy Serbian city” [with original audio of the bishop’s YouTube-posted “sermon”] (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by ELENA BOTKIN-LEVY and DAVID HUNT, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Zimbabwean trans activist Rikki Nathanson made history in her home country in 2019 when she sued the government over her arrest for using a women’s bathroom. After fearing for her life and being granted asylum in the U.S., she’s now Senior Advisor of the Global Trans Program for OutRight Action International, an LGBTIQ human rights organization. In this fourth and final installment of our special series Queerly Yours: Profiles In Courage with Roger Q Mason, Rikki tells her sometimes harrowing story of survival, and the work she’s doing now to advance worldwide queer equality (with a :13 re-intro and TWO ID at about 7:36 into this segment, produced with DAVID GONZALEZ and BRIAN DeSHAZOR, and with original series music by DAVID GONZALEZ).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending August 20, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Elena Botkin-Levy and David Hunt,
produced by Brian DeShazor
The name was no game to the hosts of WorldPride 2025, so the event is now cancelled. The southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung partnered with Pride groups in Taipei and a few other cities to submit the winning bid for what they called “WorldPride Taiwan.” Plans were in motion until August 12th, when the licensing group InterPride insisted that it be renamed “WorldPride Kaohsiung.”
It’s assumed by the Taiwanese government that InterPride chose to avoid conflict with Mainland China. It considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and bristles at any suggestion of its independence. In Taiwan, Interpride’s decision was considered an insult. A statement from the Foreign Ministry noted that WorldPride Taiwan would have been the first such event in the region. It read, “Taiwan deeply regrets that InterPride, due to political considerations, has unilaterally rejected the mutually agreed upon consensus and broken a relationship of cooperation and trust, leading to this outcome. Not only does the decision disrespect Taiwan’s rights and diligent efforts, it also harms Asia’s vast LGBTIQ+ community and runs counter to the progressive principles espoused by InterPride.”
Taiwan’s resistance came as a surprise to InterPride. Noting that WorldPride events have traditionally been named for the host city rather than the country, its media statement said, “We were confident [that] a compromise could have been reached.”
However WorldPride Taiwan 2025 organizer A-Ku told reporters that the specific name was used throughout the bidding and selection process starting in early 2021.
WorldPride2023 is scheduled for Sydney, in the Australia state of New South Wales.
U.S. trans people who experience gender dysphoria are protected by 1990’s Americans with Disabilities Act – this according to a ruling this week by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The landmark ADA specifically excludes “transvestism,” “transsexualism” and “gender identity disorder.” However U.S. Circuit Court Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote for the three-judge panel, “nothing in the ADA … compels the conclusion that gender dysphoria constitutes a ‘gender identity disorder’ excluded from ADA protection.” She said that the “disorder” definition, “concerns itself primarily with distress and other disabling symptoms, rather than simply being transgender.”
Transgender plaintiff Kesha Williams sued Fairfax County, Virginia for housing her with men and denying her appropriate gender-affirming medical care during her time in jail. The appeals court sent the case back for reconsideration to the lower court, which had ruled against Williams. Other trans plaintiffs have succeeded in lower courts, but this is the first time that a federal appeals court has affirmed their coverage under the ADA.
Whether or not transgender people are protected by the ADA has been controversial even within the transgender community. Some say that interpreting the law to include them provides added legal protections. Other transgender advocates insist that being transgender is not a mental disorder, and object to any descriptive language implying otherwise.
Staff attorney Joshua Block of the ACLU’s LGBTQ and HIV Project was one who applauded the appeals court’s reasoning. He said, “Transgender people are denied a multitude of reasonable rights and accommodations, particularly while incarcerated, and [the] ruling is a step forward for their fairness and equality.”
Boston Children’s Hospital employees are being warned about escalating social media attacks against its pediatric transgender healthcare programs. Far right transphobe Chaya Raichik’s popular LibsofTikTok is posting false claims that the hospital performs genital surgeries on people under the age of 18. Raichik also regularly calls those who offer support to queer youth “groomers.”
Other rightwing media influencers with millions of followers are adding to the hysteria. “The Daily Wire’s” Matt Walsh and “The Daily Caller” continue their sensationalistic misinformation campaigns despite being fact-checked by reputable organizations. Meanwhile, the social media accounts of individual doctors have been plagued by vulgar and harassing comments and bogus negative reviews.
The Hospital’s public relations office sent an email to staff members citing this “increase of threatening and aggressive phone calls and emails [condemning our] treatment of transgender patients.” Management offered suggestions on how to deal with harassment and threats, and is increasing its own security staff and working with law enforcement to insure the safety of every employee. The statement affirmed, “Boston Children’s Hospital is proud to be home to the first pediatric and adolescent transgender health program in the United States.”
Hospitals offering gender-affirming treatment to transgender youth in Dallas, Pittsburgh and other U.S. cities have also been protested on social media. Some have been picketed for their compassionate care.
National Football League defensive end Carl Nassib no doubt will say “gay” when he returns to play with the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, Florida. Nassib famously came out with a video on social media last year, the first active professional player to do so.
The 29-year-old Nassib played two seasons with the Bucs before he joined the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020. He became a free agent after two seasons there, and signed a one-year deal with the Bucs this week. He started his career with the Cleveland Browns in 2016.
Nassib rotated with other starters on the defensive line in Las Vegas. He’s expected to play a similar role in Tampa Bay, where he’ll join marquee quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady’s former New England Patriots teammate Ryan O’Callaghan came out after retiring in 2017. He told the queer athletic site “Outsports” that Brady would “absolutely” have accepted him if he had come out at that time. O’Callaghan quipped, “Being married to [Brazilian fashion supermodel Gisele Bündchen], I’m sure he’s met a few gay people in his life.”
U.S. Women’s National Basketball Association All-Star Brittney Griner’s Russian lawyers have filed an appeal in her drug possession case. Griner has been behind bars since mid-February, and was sentenced to nine years in prison on August 4th. The African-American lesbian was arrested at a Moscow-area airport for admittedly leaving medically prescribed cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage by accident as she rushed to make her flight. Possession of any amount of cannabis is illegal in Russia, but the penalties for mere possession are usually much less severe.
Griner is a member of the Phoenix Mercury, but many underpaid WNBA players do off-season duty abroad. She’s played for the women’s basketball team in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg for several years.
The real drama is not on the court or in the courtroom, but behind the scenes. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechayev said late this week that they were engaged in “quiet diplomacy” with the United States about a potential prisoner exchange. Griner would be traded for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, along with former Marine Paul Whelan. Whelan has been in a Russian jail since 2020 on what U.S. officials call trumped-up espionage charges. Bout is known as “The Merchant of Death.” He’s serving 25 years in federal prison for selling weapons to terrorists intent on killing U.S. citizens. There are serious concerns that Russia will drag out the process, and demand a second convicted Russian in any potential prisoner swap.
[SOUND: BOGUNOVIĊ rant begins and fades out slowly under:]
Serbian Orthodox Church Bishop Nikanor Bogunoviċ hexed the annual EuroPride celebration being hosted in the capital city of Belgrade in September. In a YouTube post he vowed, “I will curse all those who organize and participate in something like that. If I had a weapon, I would use it [against them].” He warned that people would come to the socially conservative Balkan country to “flaunt and desecrate … the holy Serbian city.”
Nikanor serves a region that covers parts of Serbia, Romania, and Hungary. A few days after his rant was posted to YouTube, thousands of protestors filled the streets of Belgrade chanting, “Hands off our children” and “Stop the parade of shame.” Local media reported that the demonstration was well orchestrated by the Serbian Orthodox Church itself.
President Aleksandar Vučić told the press that he personally opposes the Pride event, but asked, “What do you care if someone walks for a day. … When I see that aggressive tone in someone, I always wonder what is hidden behind it.” Vučić believes that Nikanor’s target was probably lesbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, although queer activists say she’s done nothing to advance LGBTQ equality since she took office in 2017. Nevertheless Vučić added, “Bishop Nikanor insulted himself and our Church, humiliated our Church much more than Ana Brnabić, or anyone else, ever did.”
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