Our 1800th episode finds an eerie resemblance between the stories we reported the last week of September 1992 — fighting to secure state-level rights in Colorado and California … and oh, that Florida — and today’s conservative trends.
And in NewsWrap: more than 10,000 opponents of queer rights march through the streets of Istanbul demanding a ban on “LGBTQ propaganda,” Roman Catholic bishops in Belgium defy the Vatican to authorize celebrations affirming same-gender couples, the U.S. Southern Baptist Convention cuts ties with two LGBTQ-welcoming congregations, the Mexican state of Durango gets marriage equality by gubernatorial decree, the U.S. state of Montana yields to an injunction blocking its ban on birth certificate gender changes, Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio come under fire because of their gender-affirming care programs for young people, a Texas judge expands her injunction to halt “child abuse” investigations into P-FLAG and other families of transgender youth, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Marcos Najera and M.R. Raquel (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of September 26, 2022
September 1992: Review or Preview?
Program #1,800 distributed 09/26/22
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Some ten thousand people march against “LGBTQ propaganda” in Istanbul in what the Associated Press calls “the largest demonstration of its kind” in Turkey … Belgium’s Roman Catholic Bishops Conference defies Vatican policy by announcing that its priests will start blessing committed same-gender couples — although it won’t be “marriage” … U.S. Southern Baptists officially boot a queer-friendly congregation that had already withdrawn from the Convention in 1999 … Durango’s governor decides to stop waiting for lawmakers to take Supreme Court-ordered action and decrees it to be Mexico’s 27th state to open civil marriage to same-gender couples … Montana’s Republican government, at first defying a judge’s rulings, announces that it will comply with them and once again allow trans people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates … two more children’s hospitals with programs to care for transgender young people — Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee and Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio — are targeted by conspiracy-believing anti-trans fanatics, led by Fox “News’s” far-right dictator-loving commentator Tucker Carlson … a Texas judge extends her ban on Republican Governor Greg Abbott-ordered state investigations of the parents of transgender kids for “child abuse” to protect some 600 P-FLAG families (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MARCOS NAJERA and M.R. RAQUEL, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: Everything old is new again … again. As we reach our 1800th episode, reports we broadcast 30 years ago this week have an eerie resemblance to today’s events … and might be even eerier as omens of a history-repeating, right-leaning future. So let’s go back a decade before the decriminalization of same-gender sex and two decades before marriage equality to September 1992: Pacifica Radio’s VERNA AVERY BROWN and This Way Out’s GREG GORDON introduced our coverage of the fights to get and keep queer rights in Colorado and California (with a report from SCOTT SCHLAGEL in DENVER). SUSAN GAGE reported from Tallahassee on another story from September 1992 out of Florida: if you think Governor Ron DeSantis is the “Don’t Say Gay” king, wait ’til you hear about Charley Johns [featuring comments by Kevin Tebedo, Sue Larson, Jim Joy, David Smith, Terry Friedman, Steve Sheldon, Frank Kaufee, Bonnie Stark, and Joe Brown … cameos by Moscow activist ROMAN KALININ, translated by MASHA GESSEN and countered by then U.S. SENATOR JESSE HELMS … a midway announcement by Overnight Productions (Inc.) CEO BRIAN DESHAZOR about our history-making Library Of Congress Preservation Project; music performed by SUGARLOAF, TRIUMPH, THE FLIRTATIONS, HOLLY NEAR, SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK, and ABNEY PARK.
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending September 24th, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Marcos Najera and M.R. Raquel,
produced by Brian DeShazor
More than 10,000 opponents of queer rights took to the streets of Istanbul on September 18th. In what the Associated Press called “the largest demonstration of its kind,” marchers demanded laws banning so-called “LGBTQ propaganda.”
They called it “The Big Family Gathering,” and it targeted alleged pro-queer “promotion” its organizers said permeates Netflix and Turkish social media. “Gathering” spokesperson Kürşat Mican claimed that more than 150,000 Turks had signed a pre-demonstration petition to call for anti-queer censorship. Inflammatory video clips from past LGBTQ Pride Parades were circulated to inspire homophobic zealots. The video clips even ran on Turkish state media as “public service announcements” to encourage the protest.
Turkey once hosted the largest queer celebrations in the region. More than 100,000 people celebrated Pride in Istanbul in 2014. A month later rightwing autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power, and that ended that.
Istanbul Pride was officially banned again this past June, but hundreds of peaceful participants tried to march anyway. Several were injured and arrested in a brutal attack by local and national security police.
Istanbul’s September 18th anti-LGBTQ demonstration alarmed local and global human rights groups. They fear it signals a continued tilt to the right in Turkey.
Roman Catholic Bishops in Belgium are authorizing religious celebrations for “committed” same-gender couples in defiance of the Vatican. However, the Bishops Conference of Belgium posted a document to its website on September 20th emphasizing that it’s not “what the Church understands [to be] sacramental marriage.” They call the ceremonies part of a “welcoming Church that excludes no one.” There will be ritual prayers and a commitment by each couple in the presence of family and friends to be faithful to one another.
The Vatican officially banned such ceremonies in March last year. That document insisted that the Roman Catholic Church “does not and cannot bless sin” because it would be endorsing sex outside of traditional marriage.
Queer Roman Catholic LGBTQ groups around the world are celebrating the advance. Francis DeBernardo of the U.S.-based New Ways Ministry said in a statement, “Love is more important than sexual behavior, and love is something that the Church should always bless.”
The Vatican has yet to respond to the Belgian bishops’ decision.
The Executive Committee of the U.S. Southern Baptist Convention voted to cut ties with two congregations – even though one had already beaten them to it. College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina was condemned after a two-day conference in Nashville, Tennessee this week. The charge was “open affirmation, approval and endorsement of homosexual behavior” – a direct violation of denominational policy. That’s probably why College Park left the Convention in 1999 to affiliate with more progressive Baptist associations.
The Southern Baptist Convention cannot force churches to submit to its policies. Instead it classifies contrary congregations as not being in "friendly cooperation." That’s the judgment on Amazing Grace Community Church of Franklinville, New Jersey. The Executive Committee cited its “lack of cooperation ... to resolve concerns regarding alleged discriminatory behavior.” The nature of those offenses is unclear.
The Southern Baptist Convention is itself being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department. Allegations include widespread mishandling of sexual abuse cases by individual pastors, churches or affiliated organizations.
The governor of the Mexican state of Durango issued a decree on September 18th officially opening civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples. Governor Esteban Villegas Villarreal had grown weary of legislative inaction.
Each of Mexico’s 31 states was to legally implement marriage equality after a decision by the nation’s Supreme Court in 2015.
Same-gender couples in the federal district of Mexico City could already marry, and twenty-two states have opened the civil institution since the court order. Five others still need to update their laws to reflect a state court marriage equality ruling or a gubernatorial decree.
In Guerrero, México, Tabasco and Tamaulipas couples can marry, but they must go to a federal judge to get a personal injunction. That’s called an “amparo,” and a federal judge is bound by the Supreme Court ruling to issue it. However, it’s an expensive and often time-consuming process.
The Supreme Court ruling made it clear that every Mexican jurisdiction must allow marriage equality. It’s just taking a while.
The state of Montana has agreed to follow the rule of law – perhaps more of a surprise in the United States in 2022 than it should be. The state’s Department of Public Health and Human Services put up months of resistance, but will now comply with a judge’s order to allow trans people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates – for the time being.
It used to be easy for trans Montanans to make that change. Then the Republican-dominated legislature enacted a law requiring proof of gender-confirming surgery and court approval. District Judge Michael Moses issued a temporary injunction against the law’s enforcement in April. In early September, the Health Department came out with a new rule that forbid trans people from amending their birth certificates – ever. Judge Moses quickly enjoined the enforcement of that rule.
The Health Department initially said that it would again defy Moses’ order, but relented on September 18th. Spokesman Jon Ebelt said in a statement, “… despite disagreeing with [the order], [we] will comply with its terms.”
It’s not clear, however, when the Department will actually begin processing trans Montanans’ applications to amend their birth certificates, or how long the window of opportunity will stay open this time.
Two more medical facilities are now the targets of social media attacks by conspiracy-believing transphobic fanatics. Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio provide gender-affirming care to transgender young people. Treatment includes mental health counseling, puberty blockers and/or hormone therapies. Actual surgeries are never done on trans people under the age of 18.
But truth is not enough to stop far-right trans-phobes. Fox’s dictator-licking commentator Tucker Carlson led the charge this week defending the misinformed protestors. In some circles this would be considered “incitement to violence”:
[SOUND: Carlson] Now these are sex crimes, and the people committing them should be punished. Now, try and say that … out loud … anywhere but on Fox News – you can’t! The term “groomer” is hate speech, says NBC News. Yeah, they’re being mean to doctors who castrate children, who cut the breasts off girls. Yeah! No parent should put up with this for one second, no matter what the law says. Your moral duty is to defend your children. This is an attack on your children, and you should fight back.
Trans rights activists say Carlson and his fellow prevaricators are fomenting attacks against medical facilities and professionals who provide care and support to transgender young people and their families. That care saves lives.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center was forced to shut down its website this week after a tsunami of social media attacks, according to The Daily Beast.
Finally, a Texas judge has expanded her ruling that stopped the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services from investigating the parents of transgender young people for “child abuse.” Travis County Judge Amy Clark Meachum’s original injunction in July halted investigations into two families who had sued the state. In response to another lawsuit, Meachum extended her injunction to cover some 600 Texas members of P-FLAG, a queer families support and advocacy organization.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott ordered the probes based on a questionable legal decision by his Attorney General Ken Paxton. Both are up for re-election in November.
In a media statement, Adri Pérez of the ACLU of Texas said, “Once again a Texas court has stepped in to say what we knew from the beginning: State leaders have no business interfering with life-saving care essential for transgender youth. … We should trust doctors and every major medical association on how to support transgender youth. … We will never stop fighting for the rights, safety, and dignity of transgender Texans.”