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This Way Out Radio Episode #1805: Leslie Jordan Tribute

Comedic actor Leslie Jordan is gone too soon, leaving behind a legacy of humor and humanity from Will & Grace to Call Me Kat. Relive some favorite laughs, and hear his tales of the Sordid Lives he lived on screen — and some “sordid lives” in gay Hollywood then and now (interviewed by Chris Wilson, Abby Dees and Rosie Wilby).

And in NewsWrap: the passage of marriage equality legislation in Guerrero and Tamaulipas completes the long process of making it law in all 31 Mexican states, an LGBTQ ally becomes Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, Slovakia’s Parliament rejects a bill to create registered partnerships for lesbian and gay couples, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s new Tory Cabinet is just as anti-queer as his short-lived predecessor’s, lawmakers in Russia’s State Duma vote to expand the ban on “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors to include adults, persecuted Chechen brothers and WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner each lose appeals of harsh Russian prison sentences, upcoming U.S. midterm elections feature queer candidates in all 50 states, and more international LGBTQ news reported this week by Marcos Najera and Michael Taylor-Gray (produced by Brian DeShazor).

All this on the October 31, 2022 edition of This Way Out!

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript
for the week of October 31st, 2022

Leslie Jordan Tribute

Program #1,805 distributed 10/31/22
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): Guerrero and Tamaulipas become the last two states in Mexico to open civil marriage to same-gender couples, finally allowing those couples to legally wed anywhere in the country … the confirmation in India of LGBTQ-supportive DY Chandrachud as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may advance the chances of marriage equality there … lawmakers in Slovakia solidly reject a less-than-marriage civil partnerships bill because “children need a mother and a father” … the U.K.’s latest Conservative Party Prime Minister in three months, apparently anti-trans Rishi Sunak, along with his new generally anti-queer Cabinet, are not seen as much of an improvement over his 44-days-and-gone predecessor Liz Truss and her Cabinet … members of Russia’s State Duma unanimously approve a bill to expand a 2013 law banning “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors to punish any pro-queer-couple “promotion” by anyone anywhere in the country, with convicts facing hefty fines, potential jail time, and deportation for foreign offenders … Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isayev, two young brothers in the semi-autonomous Russian region of Chechnya, who’ve been persecuted for years because of their queer-supportive posts on social media, each lose appeals of their multi-year prison sentences on trumped-up charges of providing food to a member of an illegal armed group … lesbian U.S. WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner loses her appeal of a harsh nine-year prison term in Russia on bogus drug distribution charges … in the critical November 8th midterm elections, proudly out LGBTQ candidates are, for the first time in U.S. history, on the ballot in all 50 states, including two favored lesbian gubernatorial candidates, Democrats Maura Healey in Massachusetts and Tina Kotek in Oregon (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MARCOS NAJERA and MICHAEL TAYLOR-GRAY, produced by BRIAN DeSHAZOR).

Feature: We pay tribute to Leslie Jordan, who died on the way to the set of his latest TV series on October 24th. The diminutive Emmy-winner and peerless storyteller charmed This Way Out interviewers CHRIS WILSON and ABBY DEES in LOS ANGELES, and current The Breakup Monologues podcaster ROSIE WILBY in LONDON, during three chats in 2011, 2013 and 2014 (with scenes from American Horror Story, Will & Grace, Call Me Kat, The Help, and Boston Legal (featuring Megan Mullally, Mayim Bialik and Betty White, and music from Glee and by OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN).


A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending October 29th, 2022
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Marcos Najera and Michael Taylor-Gray,
and produced by Brian DeShazor

Marriage equality has now gone nationwide in Mexico. Lawmakers in the state of Guerrero voted for marriage equality on October 25th, and their counterparts in Tamaulipas passed similar legislation the following day.

It took a while. The federal district of Mexico City’s government was first, approving a marriage equality proposal in late 2009. Six years later, the Supreme Court ordered civil marriage to be opened to same-gender couples, but left each state to implement the ruling independently. Most of the 31 states did so legislatively, while a few did it judicially or administratively.

After traveling Mexico’s winding road to equality, gay and lesbian couples can finally tie the knot anywhere in the world’s 10th most populous country.

In the world’s second-most populous country, reports out of India suggest that marriage equality may be inching closer to reality there, too. LGBTQ-supportive Justice D.Y. Chandrachud has been confirmed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court gets the final word when regional high court rulings are contradictory. Multiple marriage-related lawsuits are active in the high courts of the union territory of Delhi and the state of Kerala. The cases target separate statutes that regulate civil and religious marriages, and marriages entered into abroad.

Normally in India those regional decisions would apply nationally, as long as the high court rulings agree.

With a new ally at the helm, activists could now take a marriage equality case directly to a possibly more supportive Supreme Court.

Slovakia’s Parliament rejected a bill to create registered partnerships for lesbian and gay couples this week. The proposal was no marriage equality leap. However it would have granted queer couples rights to inheritance, mutual medical decision-making, and spousal compensation in the event of a partner’s workplace death or injury.

The bill needed 76 votes to pass but the Washington Blade reports only 50 MP’s saying “yes.” There were 37 “no” votes and 15 abstentions. Thirty-one M.P.’s failed to show up.

There was apparently not even a “sympathy vote” just two weeks after a shooting spree at a popular gay bar in the capital of Bratislava. Two men were killed and a female employee was injured.

Far-right Christian Union Party M.P. Richard Vašečka fears that granting legal status to same-gender couples might lead to people being punished for disagreeing with the goals of LGBTQ activists. He told the Standard newspaper, “every child deserves a father and a mother and it is the best family space for raising children.”

Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová tweeted her disappointment: “Our society is not threatened by the love of two people of the same sex, or their partnerships.”

Three Prime Ministers in as many months is not the charm for many LGBTQ people in the U.K. Conservative Party P.M. Liz Truss and her generally anti-queer Cabinet were replaced by Rishi Sunak and his generally anti-queer Cabinet this week. Truss bowed out in record time after failing to gain support by key members of her own party for her tax-breaks-for-the-rich economic plan.

Forty-two-year-old Sunak becomes Britain’s youngest Prime Minister in more than 200 years. The former Chancellor is also the first P.M. of color. Sunak is one of the wealthiest people in the country, maybe even more moneyed than British monarchy. His Indian-born tech heiress wife adds her own wealth to the family fortune.

Like Truss before him, Sunak has a troubling history of anti-trans comments. He reportedly favors a ban on transgender competitors in sports, as well as limiting the scope of LGBTQ inclusion in public education.

Many of his Cabinet picks are no better. Sunak’s pick for Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary is Dominic Raab, a hold-over from P.M. Boris Johnson’s administration. As such Raab reportedly circulated a proposal to house prisoners “based on their genitals rather than on their gender identity.”

Sunak’s appointment of M.P. Kemi Badenoch’s as Equalities Minister and Secretary of State for International Trade is perhaps the most troubling for LGBTQ people and their allies. While serving as Truss’ equalities assistant, Badenoch met with anti-trans and so-called “ex-gay” groups, and opposed efforts to ban conversion therapy. British actor, screenwriter, and author Emma Kennedy tweeted, “I’m sure Kemi Badenoch has her strengths but being a champion for the LGBT[Q] community isn’t one of them. Making her Equalities Minister is a really sh**ty thing to do.”

Sunak is keeping Defense Minister Ben Wallace, who has strongly opposed both marriage equality and military service by openly-LGBTQ people.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt stay in the posts they held in the previous administration, while Gillian Keegan is the new Education Secretary. Those three are considered to be strongly pro-LGBTQ, but they’ll be in the minority in Rishi Sunak’s new Cabinet.

Lawmakers in Russia’s State Duma voted this week to expand the law banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors. The lower house of Parliament unanimously approved extending the

2013 ban to prohibit anyone from “praising” same-gender couples or publicly saying that they are “normal” – regardless of the age of the audience.

The bill puts the offense of “spreading LGBTQ propaganda” on the same level as distributing pornography, promoting violence, or stoking racial, ethnic and religious tensions, according to the BBC. Violators face hefty fines, or even jail time. Foreign offenders could also be deported.

Debaters for the bill in the Duma linked the rejection of “Western values” like “sodomy” to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The proposal to ratchet up anti-queer censorship is expected to pass in the upper house, the Federation Council. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s signature is also expected.

In other news out of Russia, there are updates on the fate of two queer Chechen brothers and U.S. WNBA basketball All-Star Brittney Griner.

Brothers Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isayev appealed their eight- and six-year prison sentences this week, but were rejected by a regional court in Pyatigorsk. They were convicted on what Human Rights Watch calls bogus charges of providing food to a member of an illegal armed group. In fact, Salekh and Ismail were relentlessly persecuted for years by Russian authorities for supporting LGBTQ rights on social media. They were kidnapped from a safe house and repeatedly tortured.

WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner also appealed her nine-year sentence in a Russian penal colony on trumped up charges of illegal drug distribution. She testified that she accidentally left medically approved cannabis vape oil cartridges in her luggage when she was passing through a Moscow-area airport. Although almost everyone agrees that the sentence was overly harsh, the Moscow Regional Court rejected her appeal this week. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called it “another sham judicial proceeding.”

The Biden administration has been trying to negotiate a prisoner exchange involving Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan, who’s serving a 16-year sentence in a Russian prison on trumped-up espionage charges. They’d trade for notorious U.S.-held Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Vladimir Putin has thus far refused to play that card against the U.S. as part of some strategy in his unprovoked war on Ukraine.

Finally, queer candidates will be on the ballot in all 50 states for the first time in U.S. history when voters go to the polls on November 8th for the midterm elections.

The political action LGBTQ Victory Fund counted 678 candidates, mostly Democrats – and that’s a more than 18 percent increase from the general election in 2020.

The surge comes amidst an avalanche of anti-queer bills led by Republicans in states they control, and by members of the current Congressional minority.

Former mayor of Houston and Victory Fund C.E.O. Annise Parker said in a statement, "Bigots want us to stay home and stay quiet, but their attacks are backfiring and instead have motivated a new wave of LGBTQ leaders to run for office."

Among the most notable candidates, Maura Healey in Massachusetts and Tina Kotek of Oregon could become the country’s first lesbian Governors.

The Victory Fund also reports a sharp increase of queer candidates of color to more than a third. Non-cisgender candidates almost doubled their numbers from about eight percent two years ago to almost 14 percent this year.

The Victory Fund’s Parker adds, “Sitting on the sidelines isn’t an option when our rights are on the chopping block.”

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