Before Representative Liz Cheney took on Trumpism, even before her dad was playing President Bush’s Darth Vader, her novelist mom dreamed of pioneering queer “Sisters” (read by Cindy Friedman).
Before Scooby-Doo’s Velma Dinkley came out of the closet, televangelistic gaydar zeroed in on the Teletubbies’ Tinky Winky (featuring Cindy Friedman and Leo Garcia).
Before the Springfield, Missouri City Council was to vote on anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in October 2012, the Brentwood Christian Church’s Reverend Phil Snider gave a shocking testimony.
Plus lesbian-feminist poet-activist Pat Parker performs “For the Straight Folks Who Don’t Mind Gays (But Wish They Wouldn’t Be So Blatant).”
And in NewsWrap: Slovenia’s Parliament passes marriage equality legislation that includes the right to adopt children, Brazil’s federal elections deliver wins to two trans candidates and a run-off between leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the homophobic President Jair Bolsonaro, scandal-plagued Georgia Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker’s gay conservative son is done with his dad’s hypocrisy, a Texas federal judge rules for the state against federal guidelines for LGBTQ anti-bias job protections, Jon Stewart has a problem with trans-phobes, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by David Hunt and Elena Botkin-Levy (produced by Brian DeShazor).
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of October 8th, 2022
Cheney's Lesbian Sisters & Cartoonish Out-Comings!
Program #1,802 distributed 10/10/22
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Slovenia becomes the first nation in Eastern Europe to open civil marriage and grant adoption rights to queer couples … in Brazil’s national elections, rightwing misogynistic, racist, anti-queer President Jair Bolsonaro faces an uphill run-off with leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on October 30th … two Brazilian transgender candidates become the first in their country to win seats in the national legislature … the Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia, Trump-picked ex-football player Herschel Walker, who supports a total federal abortion ban, is revealed to have paid for an abortion for one of the four women he fathered children with, prompting one of his sons, Trump-and-man-loving social influencer Christian Walker, to call out his father’s hypocrisy … a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas rules for employers who want to discriminate against LGBTQ people … “Velma Dinkley,” one of the animated human pals of oversized dog detective Scooby-Doo, goes “full lesbian” in the latest installment of the globally-popular franchise, “Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo” [with revealing snippets from the movie] … and long-time queer ally Jon Stewart, back for the second season of his Apple TV+ series The Problem with Jon Stewart, calls out Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for fabricating figures about transgender young people (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by DAVID HUNT and ELENA BOTKIN-LEVY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).
Feature: These days U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s rabid determination to cleanse their party of Trumpism has stolen the spotlight from the rest of her royal Republican family. When U.S. Second Lady Lynne Cheney published her latest book in October 2007, then-This Way Out News Director CINDY FRIEDMAN discovered a titillating tidbit from Lynne’s earlier work, entitled Sisters (with intro/outro music by k.d. lang).
Feature: The Little Mermaid is black, Velma Dinkley is queer, and Hocus Pocus 2 can turn your living room into the set of Poltergeist. If such conspiratorial fantasies could really knock the earth off its axis, it would have happened long ago — like when we reported this “traditional family” freak-out in 1999 when “family values” leader Rev. Jerry Falwell “outed” the Teletubbies children’s TV show character Tinky Winky (an ersatz February 1999 “news report” by CINDY FRIEDMAN with LEO GARCIA as Falwell and a Tinky Winky interviewer; intro music by THE CHORAL MAJORITY interspersed with Moral Majority member comments gathered by DAVID HUNT).
Feature: With the strains of Christian Nationalism on the rise, it’s good to recall a story covered by This Way Out’s GREG GORDON about Springfield, Missouri’s patriotic pastor Phil Snider back in October 2012 (with intro music by ANITA BRYANT) … tagged with Black lesbian-feminist poet-activist Pat Parker’s classic For The Straight Folks, Who Don’t Mind Gays, But Wish They Weren’t So Blatant.
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending October 8th, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by David Hunt and Elena Botkin-Levy,
produced by Brian DeShazor
Slovenia’s lesbian and gay couples now have the right to civil marriage. Legislation approved by Parliament this week also includes the right to adopt children. Forty-eight MP’s voted in favor, 29 against, and one abstained.
A July ruling by Slovenia’s Constitutional Court gave lawmakers no choice. The justices concluded 6-to-3 that denying same-gender couples the right to civil marriage violated a constitutional ban on discrimination. The decision stressed that “the importance of traditional marriage as a union of a man and a woman” was not diminished – this to reassure socially conservative Slovenians, according to EuroNews.
Just a month after a new left-leaning government replaced a far-right one, the Court’s ruling gave Parliament six months to amend all relevant laws. They did it in four.
This makes Slovenia the first Eastern European nation with marriage equality. It’s bucking the official anti-queer trends in neighboring Hungary and Poland.
During the long and sometimes heated debate, Slovenian State Secretary Simon Maljevac said, “we are recognizing the rights of same-sex couples that they should have had for a long time.”
Brazil’s highly anticipated presidential election is headed to a run-off between former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and current President Jair Bolsonaro. The leftist Lula garnered 48.4 percent of the vote on October 2nd, while “Trump of the Tropics” Bolsonaro got 43.2 percent. Fifty percent plus one is needed to win.
Following his nick-namesake’s playbook, Bolsonaro proclaimed weeks ahead of the vote that it would be “rigged.” Federal police have asked prosecutors to charge him for spreading dangerous misinformation about COVID 19 – belittling people wearing masks, and at one point claiming that people being vaccinated could get HIV/AIDS. He’s widely reviled at home and abroad for his obnoxiously “macho” misogyny, racism, and anti-queer rhetoric.
Brazil’s presidential run-off election is October 30th.
On a queer-positive note, two transgender candidates made Brazilian history by becoming the first to win election to federal office. Black former sex worker and São Paulo municipal council member Erika Hilton will represent the state of São Paulo. Former teacher and Belo Horizonte council member Duda Salabert was elected in the state of Minas Gerais. They’re both from leftist parties.
In Georgia, blatant hypocrisy and family strife have engulfed a far-right Republican’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Former college football star Herschel Walker is the disgraced ex-president’s handpicked candidate to unseat Democratic Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock. Warnock’s progressive credentials include protecting a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body. Walker unequivocally supports a federal ban on all abortions, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or threat to the mother’s life – at least in public.
He had already grudgingly admitted to fathering four children with four different women. This week the Daily Beast revealed that Walker had paid for one of those women to have an abortion. The report included photos of a signed check from Walker, a receipt from the clinic where the abortion was performed and a signed “get well” card that came with the check.
That was too much for one of his children: same gender- and Trump-loving conservative social media influencer Christian Walker. His early support for his father’s campaign was apparently not without reservations. He broke with his hypocritical dead-beat dad in a widely viewed Twitter post on October 3rd. Compelled to respond to the predictable right wing media attacks, Christian posted a follow-up message the next day:
SOUND - Christian: Nobody knows anything. So for everybody making these wild theories and whatever, that’s crazy. This is about a bunch of lies. Again, I could … if I had had an issue with whatever, I could have ended this [inaudible] that’s not my intention. My intention is, ‘don’t lie about your life at the expense of me, my mom and all of the people that you’ve effected throughout your life. You don’t get to pretend you’re some kind of moral, family guy. You don’t get to pretend all these things. Talk policy. Talk normal. Do not lie.
Candidate Walker vehemently denied the reports about the abortion at first. He barked about suing the news outlet, but without a bite. He did make a typically inept effort to sing a “redemption song” on the October 5th Fox and Friends – but even a generous host could not keep him in tune.
SOUND - Herschel: I want to bring people together. That’s the way I’ve always been. I don’t care who you are. And whether you have fallen down, I’m telling you, you can get up. I’m telling you that you can have success if you’re willing to admit your problem, and get up and keep going forward.
Host: So, Herschel, you’re saying that you weren’t the perfect dad or the perfect spouse, but you’ve been redeemed. Is that what you’re saying?
Herschel: That’s exactly what I’m saying. No one is perfect. I’m a sinner. We all sin before the glory of God. But every day I get up in the morning and pray to God to let me do His will, and that’s the reason I’m in this race right now.
The following day found Walker at a press event reverting to his original denials:
SOUND - Herschel: This here abortion thing is false. It’s a lie. And that’s what I said. I said anything that happened with my ex-wife or what Christian is talking about I don’t know … I said nothing about if it did happen, because I said that’s a lie.
An October 7th New York Times report made things even worse for Walker. It revealed that the same woman Walker paid to have an abortion in 2009 says he subsequently asked her to get a second abortion two years later. When she refused, the relationship ended. The resulting 10-year-old son reportedly gets the bare court-ordered minimum of support and attention from Walker.
Herschel Walker is just one among scores of unqualified Trump-backed, election denying, anti-woman candidates on federal, state and local ballots in U.S. midterm elections on November 8th. Many progressives say that the outcome will literally determine “the future of American democracy.”
A federal judge in Texas has freed employers in the state to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Anti-queer Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit against the Biden administration’s policies. Trump-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk decided that guidelines issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services to protect LGBTQ people and transgender youth are “unlawful,” and don’t cover “correlated conduct” – like a trans person’s bathroom use or preferred pronouns. Paxton’s lawsuit characterized those protections as wanton federal overreach.
Paxton hailed his legal victory with a not-so-subtle November re-election pitch, saying, “The Biden Administration’s attempts to radicalize federal law to track its woke political beliefs are beyond dangerous. … I will continue to push back against these unlawful attempts to use federal agencies to normalize extremist positions that put millions of Texans at risk.”
The U.S. Department of Justice already has an appeal pending against a similar lawsuit challenging LGBTQ employment protections filed by Tennessee and 19 other Republican-led states. It’s unknown whether it will appeal the Texas district court ruling.
Velma Dinkley is out of the closet. Scooby-Doo fans have long speculated about the sexual orientation of the oversized dog detective’s young human companion. The October 4th worldwide release of the popular animated TV and movie franchise’s Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo has the entertainment world – and right wing media – all abuzz.
The director of a live-action version of Scooby-Doo says that he lobbied for a lesbian Velma years ago, but failed to get approval.
The ice is finally broken when Velma first sets eyes on the alluring but notorious crime syndicate leader Coco Diablo.
SOUND – Velma: Jinkies!
She later confides in fellow amateur sleuth Daphne:
Daphne: I didn’t know convicted felons were your type.
Velma: What? Type? Me? Please! Who has time for a … a type? We have our work cut out for us, and I am focused like a laser on … Okay, who am I kidding? I’m crushing big-time Daphne! What do I do? What do I say?
Of course far right naysayers went bonkers …
SOUND – Scooby-Doo: Ruh-roh Raggy!
… while most of the world celebrated. Type “Velma” or “Velma Dinkley” into a Google search bar, and you’ll be greeted by falling confetti and rainbow flags.
HBO’s Velma is an “adult” origin story spin-off set to debut in 2023 with a 10-episode first season. Its star-studded cast features lesbian icons Jane Lynch and Wanda Sykes, and South Asian performer Mindy Kaling in the title role. Kaling says, “I think we can handle a brown Velma.”
Finally, longtime queer ally Jon Stewart is back for a second season of his show, Apple TV+’s The Problem With Jon Stewart. His relish for taking down lying public officials as host of the wildly popular The Daily Show on Comedy Central has not abated. In an online video promo for the current show, Stewart’s victim is Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge as the season kicks off this week with The Problem of Gender:
SOUND – Stewart: Ah, yes, the gender wars! Anti-trans legislation increased 800 percent -- what, did trans people storm the Capitol?
Rutledge: 98 percent of the young people who have gender dysphoria are able to move past that …
Rutledge: … without that medical treatment …
Stewart: That’s an incredibly made-up figure!